Deuteronomy 21-23 Bible in Basic English

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Settlement for an Unknown Murderer's Crime

21 1  If, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you come across the dead body of a man in the open country, and you have no idea who has put him to death: 2  Then your responsible men and your judges are to come out, and give orders for the distance from the dead body to the towns round about it to be measured; 3  And whichever town is nearest to the body, the responsible men of that town are to take from the herd a young cow which has never been used for work or put under the yoke; 4  And they are to take the cow into a valley where there is flowing water, and which is not ploughed or planted, and there the neck of the cow is to be broken: 5  Then the priests, the sons of Levi, are to come near; for they have been marked out by the Lord your God to be his servants and to give blessings in the name of the Lord; and by their decision every argument and every blow is to be judged: 6  And all the responsible men of that town which is nearest to the dead man, washing their hands over the cow whose neck was broken in the valley, 7  Will say, This death is not the work of our hands and our eyes have not seen it. 8  Have mercy, O Lord, on your people Israel whom you have made free, and take away from your people the crime of a death without cause. Then they will no longer be responsible for the man's death. 9  So you will take away the crime of a death without cause from among you, when you do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

Various Laws

10  When you go out to war against other nations, and the Lord your God gives them up into your hands and you take them as prisoners; 11  If among the prisoners you see a beautiful woman and it is your desire to make her your wife; 12  Then take her back to your house; and let her hair and her nails be cut; 13  And let her take off the dress in which she was made prisoner and go on living in your house and weeping for her father and mother for a full month: and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she will be your wife. 14  But if you have no delight in her, you are to let her go wherever she will; you may not take a price for her as if she was your property, for you have made use of her for your pleasure.

15  If a man has two wives, one greatly loved and the other hated, and the two of them have had children by him; and if the first son is the child of the hated wife: 16  Then when he gives his property to his sons for their heritage, he is not to put the son of his loved one in the place of the first son, the son of the hated wife: 17  But he is to give his first son his birthright, and twice as great a part of his property: for he is the first-fruits of his strength and the right of the first son is his.

18  If a man has a son who is hard-hearted and uncontrolled, who gives no attention to the voice of his father and mother, and will not be ruled by them, though they give him punishment: 19  Then let his father and mother take him to the responsible men of the town, to the public place; 20  And say to them, This son of ours is hard-hearted and uncontrolled, he will not give attention to us; he gives himself up to pleasure and strong drink. 21  Then he is to be stoned to death by all the men of the town: so you are to put away the evil from among you; and all Israel, hearing of it, will be full of fear. 22  If a man does a crime for which the punishment is death, and he is put to death by hanging him on a tree; 23  Do not let his body be on the tree all night, but put it to rest in the earth the same day; for the man who undergoes hanging is cursed by God; so do not make unclean the land which the Lord your God is giving you for your heritage.

22 1  If you see your brother's ox or his sheep wandering, do not go by without helping, but take them back to your brother. 2  If their owner is not near, or if you are not certain who he is, then take the beast to your house and keep it till its owner comes in search of it, and then you are to give it back to him. 3  Do the same with his ass or his robe or anything which has gone from your brother's keeping and which you have come across: do not keep it to yourself. 4  If you see your brother's ox or his ass falling down on the road, do not go by without giving him help in lifting it up again.

5  It is not right for a woman to be dressed in man's clothing, or for a man to put on a woman's robe: whoever does such things is disgusting to the Lord your God. 6  If by chance you see a place which a bird has made for itself in a tree or on the earth, with young ones or eggs, and the mother bird seated on the young ones or on the eggs, do not take the mother bird with the young: 7  See that you let the mother bird go, but the young ones you may take; so it will be well for you and your life will be long. 8  If you are building a house, make a railing for the roof, so that the blood of any man falling from it will not come on your house. 9  Do not have your vine-garden planted with two sorts of seed: or all of it may become a loss, the seed you have put in as well as the increase. 10  Do not do your ploughing with an ox and an ass yoked together. 11  Do not have clothing made of two sorts of thread, wool and linen together. 12  On the four edges of your robe, with which your body is covered, put ornaments of twisted threads.

Laws concerning Chastity

13  If any man takes a wife, and having had connection with her, has no delight in her, 14  And says evil things about her and gives her a bad name, saying, I took this woman, and when I had connection with her it was clear to me that she was not a virgin: 15  Then let the girl's father and mother put before the responsible men of the town, in the public place, signs that the girl was a virgin: 16  And let the girl's father say to the responsible men, I gave my daughter to this man for his wife, but he has no love for her; 17  And now he has put shame on her, saying that she is not a virgin; but here is the sign that she is a virgin. Then they are to put her clothing before the responsible men of the town. 18  Then the responsible men of the town are to give the man his punishment; 19  They will take from him a hundred shekels of silver, which are to be given to the father of the girl, because he has given an evil name to a virgin of Israel: she will go on being his wife, he may never put her away all his life. 20  But if what he has said is true, and she is seen to be not a virgin, 21  Then they are to make the girl come to the door of her father's house and she will be stoned to death by the men of the town, because she has done evil and put shame on Israel, by acting as a loose woman in her father's house: so you are to put away evil from among you. 22  If a man is taken in the act of going in to a married woman, the two of them, the man as well as the woman, are to be put to death: so you are to put away the evil from Israel. 23  If a young virgin has given her word to be married to a man, and another man meeting her in the town, has connection with her; 24  Then you are to take the two of them to the doorway of the town, and have them stoned to death; the young virgin, because she gave no cry for help, though it was in the town, and the man, because he has put shame on his neighbour's wife: so you are to put away evil from among you. 25  But if the man, meeting such a virgin in the open country, takes her by force, then only the man is to be put to death; 26  Nothing is to be done to the virgin, because there is no cause of death in her: it is the same as if a man made an attack on his neighbour and put him to death: 27  For he came across her in the open country, and there was no one to come to the help of the virgin in answer to her cry. 28  If a man sees a young virgin, who has not given her word to be married to anyone, and he takes her by force and has connection with her, and discovery is made of it; 29  Then the man will have to give the virgin's father fifty shekels of silver and make her his wife, because he has put shame on her; he may never put her away all his life. 30  A man may not take his father's wife or have sex relations with a woman who is his father's.

Those Excluded from the Congregation

23 1  No man whose private parts have been wounded or cut off may come into the meeting of the Lord's people. 2  One whose father and mother are not married may not come into the meeting of the Lord's people, or any of his family to the tenth generation. 3  No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their people to the tenth generation may come into the meeting of the Lord's people: 4  Because they gave you no bread or water on your way, when you came out of Egypt: and they got Balaam, the son of Peor, from Pethor in Aram-naharaim to put curses on you. 5  But the Lord your God would not give ear to Balaam, but let the curse be changed into a blessing to you, because of his love for you. 6  Do nothing for their peace or well-being for ever. 7  But have no hate for an Edomite, because he is your brother, or for an Egyptian, for you were living in his land. 8  Their children in the third generation may come into the meeting of the Lord's people.

Laws of Sanitation

9  When you go out to war and put your tents in position, keep from every evil thing. 10  If any man among you becomes unclean through anything which has taken place in the night, he is to go out from the tent-circle and keep outside it: 11  But when evening comes near, let him take a bath: and after sundown he may come back to the tents. 12  Let there be a place outside the tent-circle to which you may go; 13  And have among your arms a spade; and when you have been to that place, let that which comes from you be covered up with earth: 14  For the Lord your God is walking among your tents, to keep you safe and to give up into your hands those who are fighting against you; then let your tents be holy, so that he may see no unclean thing among you, and be turned away from you.

Laws of Human Relations

15  Do not give back to his master a servant who has gone in flight from his master and come to you: 16  Let him go on living among you in whatever place is most pleasing to him: do not be hard on him. 17  No daughter of Israel is to let herself be used as a loose woman for a strange god, and no son of Israel is to give himself to a man. 18  Do not take into the house of the Lord your God, as an offering for an oath, the price of a loose woman or the money given to one used for sex purposes in the worship of the gods: for these two things are disgusting to the Lord your God. 19  Do not take interest from an Israelite on anything, money or food or any other goods, which you let him have: 20  From men of other nations you may take interest, but not from an Israelite: so that the blessing of the Lord your God may be on everything to which you put your hand, in the land which you are about to take as your heritage. 21  When you take an oath to the Lord, do not be slow to give effect to it: for without doubt the Lord your God will make you responsible, and will put it to your account as sin. 22  But if you take no oath, there will be no sin. 23  Whatever your lips have said, see that you do it; for you gave your word freely to the Lord your God. 24  When you go into your neighbour's vine-garden, you may take of his grapes at your pleasure, but you may not take them away in your vessel. 25  When you go into your neighbour's field, you may take the heads of grain with your hand; but you may not put your blade to his grain.

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