Israel, God’s Special People
1 “The LORD your God will lead you into the land that you are entering to take for your own. He will force out many nations for you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—seven nations greater and more powerful than you. 2 The LORD your God will put these nations under your power. And you will defeat them. You must destroy them completely. Don’t make an agreement with them or show them mercy. 3 Don’t marry any of them, and don’t let your sons or daughters marry any of the people from those other nations. 4 If you do, they will turn your children away from following me. Then your children will serve other gods, and the LORD will be very angry with you. He will quickly destroy you!
Destroy False Gods
5 “This is what you must do to those nations: You must smash their altars and break their memorial stones into pieces. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their statues. 6 Do this because you are the LORD’S own people. From all the people on earth, the LORD your God chose you to be his special people—people who belong only to him. 7 Why did the LORD love and choose you? It was not because you are such a large nation. You had the fewest of all people! 8 But the LORD brought you out of Egypt with great power and made you free from slavery. He freed you from the control of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The LORD did this because he loves you and he wanted to keep the promise he made to your ancestors.
9 “So remember that the LORD your God is the only God, and you can trust him! He keeps his agreement. He shows his love and kindness to all people who love him and obey his commands. He continues to show his love and kindness through a thousand generations, 10 but the LORD punishes people who hate him. He will destroy them. He will not be slow to punish those who hate him. 11 So you must be careful to obey the commands, laws, and rules that I give you today.
12 “If you listen to these laws, and if you are careful to obey them, the LORD your God will keep his agreement of love with you. He promised this to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you. He will make your nation grow. He will bless your children. He will bless your fields with good crops and will give you grain, new wine, and oil. He will bless your cows with calves and your sheep with lambs. You will have all these blessings in the land that he promised your ancestors to give you.
14 “You will be blessed more than all people. Every husband and wife will be able to have children. Your cows will be able to have calves. 15 The LORD will take away all sickness from you and he will not let you catch any of the terrible diseases that you had in Egypt. But he will make your enemies catch those diseases. 16 You must destroy all the people the LORD your God helps you defeat. Don’t feel sorry for them, and don’t worship their gods! They will trap you—they will ruin your life.
The Lord Promises to Help His People
17 “Don’t say in your heart, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we force them out?’ 18 You must not be afraid of them. You must remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the people of Egypt. 19 You saw the great troubles he gave them and the amazing things he did. You saw the LORD use his great power and strength to bring you out of Egypt. The LORD your God will use that same power against all the people you fear.
20 “The LORD your God will send the hornet* hornet A stinging insect like a large wasp or bee. Here, it might mean God’s angel or his great power. against them. He will do this until he destroys all the people who escaped and tried to hide. 21 Don’t be afraid of them, because the LORD your God is with you. He is a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will force those nations to leave your country little by little. You will not destroy them all at once. If you did, the wild animals would grow to be too many for you. 23 But the LORD your God will let you defeat those nations. He will confuse them in battle, until they are destroyed. 24 He will help you defeat their kings. You will kill them, and the world will forget they ever lived. No one will be able to stop you. You will destroy them all!
25 “You must throw the statues of their gods into the fire and burn them. You must not want to keep the silver or the gold that is on those statues for yourselves. It will be like a trap to you—it will ruin your life. The LORD your God hates those idols. 26 You must not bring any of those disgusting idols into your homes, or you will be destroyed just as they will be. You must treat them as the disgusting things they are! They are to be destroyed.
*7:20 hornet A stinging insect like a large wasp or bee. Here, it might mean God’s angel or his great power.