31:1 Then Moses went 1 and spoke these words 2 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 Joshua 4 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!”
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 He 6 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 them 9 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.”
31:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The day of your death is near. Summon Joshua and present yourselves in the tent 11 of meeting 12 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 that 14 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 they 16 are going. They 17 will reject 18 me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 19 31:17 At that time 20 my anger will erupt against them 21 and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome 22 them 23 so that they 24 will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters 25 overcome us 26 because our 27 God is not among us 28 ?’ 31:18 But I will certainly 29 hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they 30 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 them 31 to the land I promised to their 32 ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they 33 eat their fill 34 and become fat, then they 35 will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 31:21 Then when 36 many disasters and distresses overcome them 37 this song will testify against them, 38 for their 39 descendants will not forget it. 40 I know the 41 intentions they have in mind 42 today, even before I bring them 43 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 Lord 44 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
31:24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 31:25 he 46 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 totally 49 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 wickedly 50 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.
1 tc For the MT reading וַיֵּלֶךְ (vayyelekh, “he went”), the LXX and Qumran have וַיְכַל (vaykhal, “he finished”): “So Moses finished speaking,” etc. The difficult reading of the MT favors its authenticity.
2 tn In the MT this refers to the words that follow (cf. NIV, NCV).
3 tn Or “am no longer able to lead you” (NIV, NLT); Heb “am no longer able to go out and come in.”
4 tn The Hebrew text includes “and said to him.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
6 tn Heb “Moses.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
7 tn The Hebrew term שְׁמִטָּה (shÿmittah), a derivative of the verb שָׁמַט (shamat, “to release; to relinquish”), refers to the procedure whereby debts of all fellow Israelites were to be canceled. Since the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated God’s own deliverance of and provision for his people, this was an appropriate time for Israelites to release one another. See note on this word at Deut 15:1.
sn For the regulations on this annual festival see Deut 16:13-15.
9 tn Heb “before all Israel.”
10 tn The phrase “this law” is not in the Hebrew text, but English style requires an object for the verb here. Other translations also supply the object which is otherwise implicit (cf. NIV “who do not know this law”; TEV “who have never heard the Law of the Lord your God”).
12 tn Heb “tent of assembly” (מוֹעֵד אֹהֶל, ’ohel mo’ed); this is not always the same as the tabernacle, which is usually called מִשְׁכָּן (mishkan, “dwelling-place”), a reference to its being invested with God’s presence. The “tent of meeting” was erected earlier than the tabernacle and was the place where Yahweh occasionally appeared, especially to Moses (cf. Exod 18:7-16; 33:7-11; Num 11:16, 24, 26; 12:4).
13 tn Heb “I will command him.”
14 tn Heb “and the pillar of cloud.” This phrase was not repeated in the translation; a relative clause was used instead.
15 tn Heb “lie down with your fathers” (so NASB); NRSV “ancestors.”
16 tn Heb “he.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “they,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style. The third person singular also occurs in the Hebrew text twice more in this verse, three times in v. 17, once in v. 18, five times in v. 20, and four times in v. 21. Each time it is translated as third person plural for stylistic reasons.
18 tn Or “abandon” (TEV, NLT).
22 tn Heb “find,” “encounter.”
25 tn Heb “evils.”
26 tn Heb “me.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “us,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style.
27 tn Heb “my.”
28 tn Heb “me.” Smr, LXX, and the Targums read the plural “us,” which is necessary in any case in the translation because of contemporary English style.
29 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “certainly.”
34 tn Heb “and are satisfied.”
36 tn Heb “Then it will come to pass that.”
40 tn Heb “it will not be forgotten from the mouth of his seed.”
42 tn Heb “which he is doing.”
44 tn Heb “he.” Since the pronoun could be taken to refer to Moses, the referent has been specified as “the
45 tc The LXX reads, “as the
46 tn Heb “Moses.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.
48 tn Heb “How much more after my death?” The Hebrew text has a sarcastic rhetorical question here; the translation seeks to bring out the force of the question.
49 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “totally.”
50 tn Heb “do the evil.”
51 tn Heb “the work of your hands.”