Deuteronomy 14-16 Bible in Basic English

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14 1  You are the children of the Lord your God: you are not to make cuts on your bodies or take off the hair on your brows in honour of the dead; 2  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has taken you to be his special people out of all the nations on the face of the earth.

Clean and Unclean Food

3  No disgusting thing may be your food. 4  These are the beasts which you may have for food: the ox, the sheep, and the goat; 5  The hart, the gazelle, and the roe, the mountain goat and the pygarg and the antelope and the mountain sheep. 6  Any beast which has a division in the horn of its foot and whose food comes back into its mouth to be crushed again, may be used for food. 7  But even among these, there are some which may not be used for food: such as the camel, the hare, and the coney, which are unclean to you, because, though their food comes back, the horn of their feet is not parted in two. 8  And the pig is unclean to you, because though it has a division in the horn of its foot, its food does not come back; their flesh may not be used for food or their dead bodies touched by you. 9  And of the things living in the waters, you may take all those who have wings for swimming with and skins formed of thin plates. 10  But any which have no skin-plates or wings for swimming, you may not take; they are unclean for you. 11  All clean birds may be used for food. 12  But these birds you may not take: the eagle and the gier-eagle and the ospray; 13  The falcon and the kite, and birds of that sort; 14  Every raven, and all birds of that sort; 15  And the ostrich and the night-hawk and the sea-hawk and birds of that sort; 16  The little owl and the great owl and the water-hen; 17  And the pelican and the vulture and the cormorant; 18  The stork and the heron and birds of that sort, and the hoopoe and the bat. 19  Every winged thing which goes flat on the earth is unclean to you and may not be used as food. 20  But all clean birds you may take. 21  You may not have as food anything which has come to a natural death; the man from another country who is living with you may take it for food, or you may get a price for it from one of another nation; for you are a holy people to the Lord your God. The young goat is not to be cooked in its mother's milk.

The Law of the Tithe

22  Put on one side a tenth of all the increase of your seed, produced year by year. 23  And make a feast before the Lord your God, in the place which is to be marked out, where his name will be for ever, of the tenth part of your grain and your wine and your oil, and the first births of your herds and your flocks; so that you may have the fear of the Lord your God in your hearts at all times. 24  And if the way is so long that you are not able to take these things to the place marked out by the Lord your God for his name, when he has given you his blessing, because it is far away from you; 25  Then let these things be exchanged for money, and, taking the money in your hand, go to the place marked out by the Lord your God for himself; 26  And with the money get whatever you have a desire for, oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your soul's desire may be: and make a feast there before the Lord your God, and be glad, you and all your house; 27  And give a thought to the Levite who is living among you, for he has no part or heritage in the land. 28  At the end of every three years take a tenth part of all your increase for that year, and put it in store inside your walls: 29  And the Levite, because he has no part or heritage in the land, and the man from a strange country, and the child who has no father, and the widow, who are living among you, will come and take food and have enough; and so the blessing of the Lord your God will be on you in everything you do.

The Year of Release

15 1  At the end of every seven years there is to be a general forgiveness of debt. 2  This is how it is to be done: every creditor is to give up his right to whatever he has let his neighbour have; he is not to make his neighbour, his countryman, give it back; because a general forgiveness has been ordered by the Lord. 3  A man of another nation may be forced to make payment of his debt, but if your brother has anything of yours, let it go; 4  But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will certainly give you his blessing in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for your heritage; 5  If only you give ear to the voice of the Lord your God, and take care to keep all these orders which I give you today. 6  For the Lord your God will give you his blessing as he has said: you will let other nations have the use of your money, but you will not make use of theirs; you will be rulers over a number of nations, but they will not be your rulers.

Lending to the Poor

7  If in any of your towns in the land which the Lord your God is giving you, there is a poor man, one of your countrymen, do not let your heart be hard or your hand shut to him; 8  But let your hand be open to give him the use of whatever he is in need of. 9  And see that there is no evil thought in your heart, moving you to say to yourself, The seventh year, the year of forgiveness is near; and so looking coldly on your poor countryman you give him nothing; and he will make an outcry to the Lord against you, and it will be judged as sin in you. 10  But it is right for you to give to him, without grief of heart: for because of this, the blessing of the Lord your God will be on all your work and on everything to which you put your hand. 11  For there will never be a time when there are no poor in the land; and so I give orders to you, Let your hand be open to your countrymen, to those who are poor and in need in your land.

The Treatment of Servants

12  If one of your countrymen, a Hebrew man or woman, becomes your servant for a price and does work for you six years, in the seventh year let him go free. 13  And when you make him free, do not let him go away with nothing in his hands: 14  But give him freely from your flock and from your grain and your wine: in the measure of the wealth which the Lord your God has given you, you are to give to him. 15  And keep in mind that you yourself were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God made you free: so I give you this order today. 16  But if he says to you, I have no desire to go away from you; because you and your family are dear to him and he is happy with you; 17  Then take a sharp-pointed instrument, driving it through his ear into the door, and he will be your servant for ever. And you may do the same for your servant-girl. 18  Let it not seem hard to you that you have to send him away free; for he has been working for you for six years, which is twice the regular time for a servant: and the blessing of the Lord your God will be on you in everything you do.

The Consecration of Firstlings

19  All the first males to come to birth in your herd and your flock are to be holy to the Lord your God: the first birth of your ox is not to be used for work, the wool of your first lamb is not to be cut. 20  But year by year you and all your house are to take a meal of it before the Lord, in the place of his selection. 21  But if it has any mark on it, if it is blind or has damaged legs, or if there is anything wrong with it, it may not be offered to the Lord your God. 22  It may be used for food in your houses: the unclean and the clean may take of it, as of the gazelle and the roe. 23  Only do not take its blood for food, but let it be drained out on the earth like water.

The Three Appointed Feasts

16 1  Take note of the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God: for in the month of Abib the Lord your God took you out of Egypt by night. 2  The Passover offering, from your flock or your herd, is to be given to the Lord your God in the place marked out by him as the resting-place of his name. 3  Take no leavened bread with it; for seven days let your food be unleavened bread, that is, the bread of sorrow; for you came out of the land of Egypt quickly: so the memory of that day, when you came out of the land of Egypt, will be with you all your life. 4  For seven days let no leaven be used through all your land; and nothing of the flesh which is put to death in the evening of the first day is to be kept through the night till morning. 5  The Passover offering is not to be put to death in any of the towns which the Lord your God gives you: 6  But in the place marked out by the Lord your God as the resting-place of his name, there you are to put the Passover to death in the evening, at sundown, at that time of the year when you came out of Egypt. 7  It is to be cooked and taken as food in the place marked out by the Lord: and in the morning you are to go back to your tents. 8  For six days let your food be unleavened bread; and on the seventh day there is to be a holy meeting to the Lord your God; no work is to be done. 9  Let seven weeks be numbered from the first day when the grain is cut. 10  Then keep the feast of weeks to the Lord your God, with an offering freely given to him from the wealth he has given you: 11  Then you are to be glad before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your man-servant and your woman-servant, and the Levite who is with you, and the man from a strange country, and the child without a father, and the widow, who are living among you, in the place marked out by the Lord your God as a resting-place for his name. 12  And you will keep in mind that you were a servant in the land of Egypt: and you will take care to keep all these laws. 13  You are to keep the feast of tents for seven days after you have got in all your grain and made your wine: 14  You are to keep the feast with joy, you and your son and your daughter, your man-servant and your woman-servant, and the Levite, and the man from a strange country, and the child without a father, and the widow, who are living among you. 15  Keep the feast to the Lord your God for seven days, in the place marked out by the Lord: because the blessing of the Lord your God will be on all the produce of your land and all the work of your hands, and you will have nothing but joy. 16  Three times in the year let all your males come before the Lord your God in the place named by him; at the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tents: and they are not to come before the Lord with nothing in their hands; 17  Every man is to give as he is able, in the measure of the blessing which the Lord your God has given you.

The Administration of Justice

18  You are to make judges and overseers in all your towns which the Lord your God gives you, for every tribe: and they are to be upright men, judging the people in righteousness. 19  You are not to be moved in your judging by a man's position, you are not to take rewards; for rewards make the eyes of the wise man blind, and the decisions of the upright false. 20  Let righteousness be your guide, so that you may have life, and take for your heritage the land which the Lord your God is giving you. 21  Let no holy tree of any sort be planted by the altar of the Lord your God which you will make. 22  You are not to put up stone pillars, for they are hated by the Lord your God.

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