Deuteronomy 17-20 Darby’s Translation

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17 1  Thou shalt not sacrifice to Jehovah thy God an ox or sheep wherein is a defect, or anything bad; for it is an abomination to Jehovah thy God. 2  If there be found in thy midst in any of thy gates which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that doeth what is evil in the sight of Jehovah thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3  and goeth and serveth other gods, and boweth down to them, either to the sun or to the moon, or to the whole host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4  and it be told thee, and thou hearest of it; then thou shalt make thorough inquiry, and if it be truth [and] the thing be certain, that this abomination hath been wrought in Israel, 5  thou shalt bring forth that man or that woman, who committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, the man or the woman, and shalt stone them with stones, that they die. 6  At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death: he shall not be put to death at the mouth of one witness. 7  The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people; and thou shalt put evil away from thy midst.

8  If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between cause and cause, and between stroke and stroke, matters of controversy within thy gates, then shalt thou arise, and go up to the place which Jehovah thy God will choose. 9  And thou shalt come unto the priests, the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment; 10  and thou shalt do according to the tenor of the word, which they of that place which Jehovah will choose shall declare unto thee; and thou shalt take heed to do according to all that they instruct thee: 11  according to the sentence of the law which they shall declare unto thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the word which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, or the left. 12  And the man that shall act presumptuously, and not hearken unto the priest that standeth to serve there before Jehovah thy God, or unto the judge, that man shall die; and thou shalt put away evil from Israel. 13  And all the people shall hear, and fear, and no more act presumptuously.

Instructions concerning a King

14  When thou comest unto the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me; 15  thou shalt only set him king over thee whom Jehovah thy God will choose: from among thy brethren shalt thou set a king over thee; thou mayest not set a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16  Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor lead back the people to Egypt, to multiply horses; for Jehovah hath said unto you, Ye shall not return again any more that way. 17  Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18  And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests, the Levites; 19  and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20  that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his sons, in the midst of Israel.

The Portions of the Levites

18 1  The priests, the Levites, [and] the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel: Jehovah's offerings by fire, and his inheritance shall they eat, 2  but they shall have no inheritance among their brethren: Jehovah, he is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. 3  And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that sacrifice a sacrifice, whether ox, or sheep: they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the jawbones, and the maw. 4  The firstfruits [also] of thy corn, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the firstfruits of the shearing of thy sheep, shalt thou give him; 5  for Jehovah thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, that he may stand to serve in the name of Jehovah, he and his sons continually. 6  And if the Levite shall come from one of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourneth, and shall come according to all the desire of his soul unto the place which Jehovah will choose, 7  and shall serve in the name of Jehovah his God, as all his brethren the Levites that stand there before Jehovah, 8  —they shall have like portions to eat, besides that which he hath sold of his patrimony.

Warning against Heathen Practices

9  When thou art come into the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. 10  There shall not be found among you he that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, that useth divination, that useth auguries, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11  or a charmer, or one that inquireth of a spirit of Python, or a soothsayer, or one that consulteth the dead. 12  For every one that doeth these things is an abomination to Jehovah, and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth dispossess them from before thee. 13  Thou shalt be perfect with Jehovah thy God. 14  For these nations, which thou shalt dispossess, hearkened unto those that use auguries, and that use divination; but as for thee, Jehovah thy God hath not suffered thee [to do] so.

God Promises a Prophet like Moses

15  Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken; 16  according to all that thou desiredst of Jehovah thy God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17  And Jehovah said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18  A prophet will I raise up unto them from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19  And it shall come to pass that the man who hearkeneth not unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20  But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. 21  And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word that Jehovah hath not spoken? 22  When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, and the thing followeth not, nor cometh to pass, that is the word which Jehovah hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: be not afraid of him.

The Cities of Refuge

19 1  When Jehovah thy God hath cut off the nations whose land Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and thou hast dispossessed them, and dwellest in their cities and in their houses, 2  thou shalt separate three cities for thyself in the midst of thy land, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess. 3  Thou shalt prepare thee the way, and divide the territory of thy land, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, so that every slayer may flee thither. 4  And this is the case of the slayer who shall flee thither that he may live: he that smiteth his neighbour unwittingly, whom he hated not previously; 5  as when he goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron slippeth from the handle, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; such an one shall flee unto one of these cities, and live; 6  lest the avenger of blood pursue the manslayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and smite him mortally; whereas he was not worthy of death, since he hated him not previously. 7  Therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thyself. 8  And if Jehovah thy God enlarge thy border, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers 9  (if thou keep all this commandment to do it, which I command thee this day, to love Jehovah thy God, and to walk in his ways continually), then shalt thou add three cities more for thyself to these three, 10  that innocent blood be not shed in the midst of thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and blood come not upon thee. 11  But if a man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and he flee into one of these cities, 12  then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13  Thine eye shall not spare him; and thou shalt put away innocent blood from Israel, that it may be well with thee.

14  Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have fixed in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee to possess.

The Law concerning Witnesses

15  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, and for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established. 16  If an unrighteous witness rise up against any man to testify against him of an offence; 17  then both the men between whom the controversy is shall stand before Jehovah, before the priests and the judges that shall be in those days; 18  and the judges shall make thorough inquiry; and if the witness be a false witness, and he have testified falsely against his brother, 19  then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother; and thou shalt put evil away from thy midst. 20  And those that remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in thy midst. 21  And thine eye shall not spare: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

The Laws concerning War

20 1  When thou goest out to war against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, [and] a people more numerous than thou, thou shalt not fear them; for Jehovah thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2  And it shall be, when ye approach unto the battle, that the priest shall draw near and speak unto the people, 3  and shall say unto them, Hear, Israel, ye are approaching this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be afraid of them; 4  for Jehovah your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. 5  And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6  And what man is there that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not eaten of it? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. 7  And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. 8  And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and shall say, What man is there that is timid and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart melt as well as his heart. 9  And it shall be, when the officers have ended speaking unto the people, that they shall place captains of the hosts at the head of the people.

10  When thou approachest unto a city to fight against it, thou shalt proclaim peace unto it. 11  And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then all the people that are found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. 12  And if it will not make peace with thee, but will make war with thee, then thou shalt besiege it; 13  and when Jehovah thy God delivereth it into thy hand, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: 14  only the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that shall be in the city, all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take as booty for thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee 15  Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities that are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16  But of the cities of these peoples which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth, 17  but shalt utterly devote them to destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee; 18  that they teach you not to do according to all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods, so that ye sin against Jehovah your God. 19  When thou shalt besiege a city many days, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by lifting up an axe against them; for thou canst eat of them; and thou shalt not cut them down, for is the tree of the field a man that it should be besieged? 20  Only the trees which thou knowest are not trees for meat, thou mayest destroy and cut them down, and build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.

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