December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- "These are the statutes and decrees which you must be careful to observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to occupy, as long as you live on its soil.
- Destroy without fail every place on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every leafy tree where the nations you are to dispossess worship their gods.
- Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, destroy by fire their sacred poles, and shatter the idols of their gods, that you may stamp out the remembrance of them in any such place.
- "That is not how you are to worship the LORD, your God.
- Instead, you shall resort to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses out of all your tribes and designates as his dwelling
- and there you shall bring your holocausts and sacrifices, your tithes and personal contributions, your votive and freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks.
- There, too, before the LORD, your God, you and your families shall eat and make merry over all your undertakings, because the LORD, your God, has blessed you.
- You shall not do as we are now doing; here, everyone does what seems right to himself,
- since you have not yet reached your resting place, the heritage which the LORD, your God, will give you.
- But after you have crossed the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage, when he has given you rest from all your enemies round about and you live there in security,
- then to the place which the LORD, your God, chooses as the dwelling place for his name you shall bring all the offerings I command you: your holocausts and sacrifices, your tithes and personal contributions, and every special offering you have vowed to the LORD.
- You shall make merry before the LORD, your God, with your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as with the Levite who belongs to your community but has no share of his own in your heritage.
- Take care not to offer up your holocausts in any place you fancy,
- but offer them up in the place which the LORD chooses from among your tribes; there you shall make whatever offerings I enjoin upon you.
- "However, in any of your communities you may slaughter and eat to your heart's desire as much meat as the LORD, your God, has blessed you with; and the unclean as well as the clean may eat it, as they do the gazelle or the deer.
- Only, you shall not partake of the blood, but must pour it out on the ground like water.
- Moreover, you shall not, in your own communities, partake of your tithe of grain or wine or oil, of the first-born of your herd or flock, of any offering you have vowed, of your freewill offerings, or of your personal contributions.
- These you must eat before the LORD, your God, in the place he chooses, along with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite who belongs to your community; and there, before the LORD, you shall make merry over all your undertakings.
- Take care, also, that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live in the land.
- 1 "After the LORD, your God, has enlarged your territory, as he promised you, when you wish meat for food, you may eat it at will, to your heart's desire;
- and if the place which the LORD, your God, chooses for the abode of his name is too far, you may slaughter in the manner I have told you any of your herd or flock that the LORD has given you, and eat it to your heart's desire in your own community.
- You may eat it as you would the gazelle or the deer: the unclean and the clean eating it alike.
- But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for blood is life, and you shall not consume this seat of life with the flesh.
- Do not partake of the blood, therefore, but pour it out on the ground like water.
- Abstain from it, that you and your children after you may prosper for doing what is right in the sight of the LORD.
- However, any sacred gifts or votive offerings that you may have, you shall bring with you to the place which the LORD chooses,
- and there you must offer both the flesh and the blood of your holocausts on the altar of the LORD, your God; of your other sacrifices the blood indeed must be poured out against the altar of the LORD, your God, but their flesh may be eaten.
- Be careful to heed all these commandments I enjoin on you, that you and your descendants may always prosper for doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD, your God.
- "When the LORD, your God, removes the nations from your way as you advance to dispossess them, be on your guard! Otherwise, once they have been wiped out before you and you have replaced them and are settled in their land,
- you will be lured into following them. Do not inquire regarding their gods, 'How did these nations worship their gods? I, too, would do the same.'
- You shall not thus worship the LORD, your God, because they offered to their gods every abomination that the LORD detests, even burning their sons and daughters to their gods.
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1  Meat for food: as on special feasts. Meat was not eaten every day in Israel, even by the wealthy.
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