Deuteronomy 21-23 New Revised Standard Version

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Settlement for an Unknown Murderer's Crime

21 1  If, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess, a body is found lying in open country, and it is not known who struck the person down, 2  then your elders and your judges shall come out to measure the distances to the towns that are near the body. 3  The elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked, one that has not pulled in the yoke; 4  the elders of that town shall bring the heifer down to a wadi with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the wadi. 5  Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to pronounce blessings in the name of the Lord, and by their decision all cases of dispute and assault shall be settled. 6  All the elders of that town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the wadi, 7  and they shall declare: "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor were we witnesses to it. 8  Absolve, O Lord, your people Israel, whom you redeemed; do not let the guilt of innocent blood remain in the midst of your people Israel." Then they will be absolved of bloodguilt. 9  So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, because you must do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

Various Laws

10  When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God hands them over to you and you take them captive, 11  suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry, 12  and so you bring her home to your house: she shall shave her head, pare her nails, 13  discard her captive's garb, and shall remain in your house a full month, mourning for her father and mother; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14  But if you are not satisfied with her, you shall let her go free and not sell her for money. You must not treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

15  If a man has two wives, one of them loved and the other disliked, and if both the loved and the disliked have borne him sons, the firstborn being the son of the one who is disliked, 16  then on the day when he wills his possessions to his sons, he is not permitted to treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the disliked, who is the firstborn. 17  He must acknowledge as firstborn the son of the one who is disliked, giving him a double portion of all that he has; since he is the first issue of his virility, the right of the firstborn is his.

18  If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, 19  then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place. 20  They shall say to the elders of his town, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard." 21  Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid. 22  When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, 23  his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.

22 1  You shall not watch your neighbor's ox or sheep straying away and ignore them; you shall take them back to their owner. 2  If the owner does not reside near you or you do not know who the owner is, you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until the owner claims it; then you shall return it. 3  You shall do the same with a neighbor's donkey; you shall do the same with a neighbor's garment; and you shall do the same with anything else that your neighbor loses and you find. You may not withhold your help. 4  You shall not see your neighbor's donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it; you shall help to lift it up.

5  A woman shall not wear a man's apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God. 6  If you come on a bird's nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, with the mother sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. 7  Let the mother go, taking only the young for yourself, in order that it may go well with you and you may live long. 8  When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it. 9  You shall not sow your vineyard with a second kind of seed, or the whole yield will have to be forfeited, both the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard itself. 10  You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together. 11  You shall not wear clothes made of wool and linen woven together. 12  You shall make tassels on the four corners of the cloak with which you cover yourself.

Laws concerning Chastity

13  Suppose a man marries a woman, but after going in to her, he dislikes her 14  and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, "I married this woman; but when I lay with her, I did not find evidence of her virginity." 15  The father of the young woman and her mother shall then submit the evidence of the young woman's virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16  The father of the young woman shall say to the elders: "I gave my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her; 17  now he has made up charges against her, saying, "I did not find evidence of your daughter's virginity.' But here is the evidence of my daughter's virginity." Then they shall spread out the cloth before the elders of the town. 18  The elders of that town shall take the man and punish him; 19  they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver (which they shall give to the young woman's father) because he has slandered a virgin of Israel. She shall remain his wife; he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives. 20  If, however, this charge is true, that evidence of the young woman's virginity was not found, 21  then they shall bring the young woman out to the entrance of her father's house and the men of her town shall stone her to death, because she committed a disgraceful act in Israel by prostituting herself in her father's house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 22  If a man is caught lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman as well as the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. 23  If there is a young woman, a virgin already engaged to be married, and a man meets her in the town and lies with her, 24  you shall bring both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry for help in the town and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 25  But if the man meets the engaged woman in the open country, and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. 26  You shall do nothing to the young woman; the young woman has not committed an offense punishable by death, because this case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor. 27  Since he found her in the open country, the engaged woman may have cried for help, but there was no one to rescue her. 28  If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, 29  the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman's father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives. 30  A man shall not marry his father's wife, thereby violating his father's rights.

Those Excluded from the Congregation

23 1  No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. 2  Those born of an illicit union shall not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. 3  No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord, 4  because they did not meet you with food and water on your journey out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam son of Beor, from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you 5  (Yet the Lord your God refused to heed Balaam; the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you.) 6  You shall never promote their welfare or their prosperity as long as you live. 7  You shall not abhor any of the Edomites, for they are your kin. You shall not abhor any of the Egyptians, because you were an alien residing in their land. 8  The children of the third generation that are born to them may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.

Laws of Sanitation

9  When you are encamped against your enemies you shall guard against any impropriety. 10  If one of you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp; he must not come within the camp. 11  When evening comes, he shall wash himself with water, and when the sun has set, he may come back into the camp. 12  You shall have a designated area outside the camp to which you shall go. 13  With your utensils you shall have a trowel; when you relieve yourself outside, you shall dig a hole with it and then cover up your excrement. 14  Because the Lord your God travels along with your camp, to save you and to hand over your enemies to you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you

Laws of Human Relations

15  Slaves who have escaped to you from their owners shall not be given back to them. 16  They shall reside with you, in your midst, in any place they choose in any one of your towns, wherever they please; you shall not oppress them. 17  None of the daughters of Israel shall be a temple prostitute; none of the sons of Israel shall be a temple prostitute. 18  You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a male prostitute into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God. 19  You shall not charge interest on loans to another Israelite, interest on money, interest on provisions, interest on anything that is lent 20  On loans to a foreigner you may charge interest, but on loans to another Israelite you may not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings in the land that you are about to enter and possess. 21  If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not postpone fulfilling it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you would incur guilt 22  But if you refrain from vowing, you will not incur guilt. 23  Whatever your lips utter you must diligently perform, just as you have freely vowed to the Lord your God with your own mouth. 24  If you go into your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container. 25  If you go into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor's standing grain.

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