“Hear, O Israel! You are now about to cross the Jordan to enter in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than yourselves, having large cities fortified to the sky,
the Anakim, a people great and tall. You know of them and have heard it said of them, ‘Who can stand up against the Anakim?’
Understand, then, today that it is the LORD, your God, who will cross over before you as a consuming fire; he it is who will reduce them to nothing and subdue them before you, so that you can drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD promised you.
After the LORD, your God, has thrust them out of your way, do not say to yourselves, ‘It is because of my merits that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; for it is really because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.
No, it is not because of your merits or the integrity of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land; but the LORD, your God, is driving these nations out before you on account of their wickedness and in order to keep the promise which he made on oath to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Understand this, therefore: it is not because of your merits that the LORD, your God, is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
“Bear in mind and do not forget how you angered the LORD, your God, in the desert. From the day you left the land of Egypt until you arrived in this place, you have been rebellious toward the LORD.
At Horeb you so provoked the LORD that he was angry enough to destroy you,
when I had gone up the mountain to receive the stone tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you. Meanwhile I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking,
till the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone inscribed, by God’s own finger, with a copy of all the words that the LORD spoke to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.
Then, at the end of the forty days and forty nights, when the LORD had given me the two stone tablets of the covenant,
he said to me, ‘Go down from here now, quickly, for your people whom you have brought out of Egypt have become depraved; they have already turned aside from the way I pointed out to them and have made for themselves a molten idol.
I have seen now how stiff-necked this people is,’ the LORD said to me.
‘Let me be, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens. I will then make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’
“When I had come down again from the blazing, fiery mountain, with the two tablets of the covenant in both my hands,
I saw how you had sinned against the LORD, your God: you had already turned aside from the way which the LORD had pointed out to you by making for yourselves a molten calf!
Raising the two tablets with both hands I threw them from me and broke them before your eyes.
Then, as before, I lay prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking, because of all the sin you had committed in the sight of the LORD and the evil you had done to provoke him.
For I dreaded the fierce anger of the LORD against you: his wrath would destroy you. Yet once again the LORD listened to me.
With Aaron, too, the LORD was deeply angry, and would have killed him had I not prayed for him also at that time.
Then, taking the calf, the sinful object you had made, and fusing it with fire, I ground it down to powder as fine as dust, which I threw into the wadi that went down the mountainside.
“At Taberah, at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah likewise, you provoked the LORD to anger.
And when he sent you up from Kadesh-barnea to take possession of the land he was giving you, you rebelled against this command of the LORD, your God, and would not trust or obey him.
Ever since I have known you, you have been rebels against the LORD.
“Those forty days, then, and forty nights, I lay prostrate before the LORD, because he had threatened to destroy you.
This was my prayer to him: O Lord GOD, destroy not your people, the heritage which your majesty has ransomed and brought out of Egypt with your strong hand.
Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Look not upon the stubbornness of this people nor upon their wickedness and sin,
lest the people from whose land you have brought us say, ‘The LORD was not able to bring them into the land he promised them’; or ‘Out of hatred for them, he brought them out to slay them in the desert.’
They are, after all, your people and your heritage, whom you have brought out by your great power and with your outstretched arm.