Deuteronomy 17-20 World English Bible

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17 1  You shall not sacrifice to Yahweh your God an ox, or a sheep, in which is a blemish, or anything evil; for that is an abomination to Yahweh your God. 2  If there be found in the midst of you, within any of your gates which Yahweh your God gives you, man or woman, who does that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3  and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the army of the sky, which I have not commanded; 4  and it be told you, and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire diligently; and behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in Israel, 5  then you shall bring forth that man or that woman, who has done this evil thing, to your gates, even the man or the woman; and you shall stone them to death with stones. 6  At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he who is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7  The hand of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from the midst of you.

8  If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose; 9  and you shall come to the priests the Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days: and you shall inquire; and they shall show you the sentence of judgment. 10  You shall do according to the tenor of the sentence which they shall show you from that place which Yahweh shall choose; and you shall observe to do according to all that they shall teach you: 11  according to the tenor of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12  The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before Yahweh your God, or to the judge, even that man shall die: and you shall put away the evil from Israel. 13  All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

Instructions concerning a King

14  When you are come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me;” 15  you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom Yahweh your God shall choose: one from among your brothers you shall set king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16  Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, “You shall not go back that way again.” 17  Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18  It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him 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 Yahweh his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20  that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.

The Portions of the Levites

18 1  The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and his inheritance. 2  They shall have no inheritance among their brothers: Yahweh is their inheritance, as he has spoken to them. 3  This shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give to the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4  The first fruits of your grain, of your new wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. 5  For Yahweh your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh, him and his sons for ever. 6  If a Levite comes from any of your gates out of all Israel, where he lives as a foreigner, and comes with all the desire of his soul to the place which Yahweh shall choose; 7  then he shall minister in the name of Yahweh his God, as all his brothers the Levites do, who stand there before Yahweh. 8  They shall have like portions to eat, besides that which comes of the sale of his patrimony.

Warning against Heathen Practices

9  When you are come into the land which Yahweh your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10  There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11  or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12  For whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh your God does drive them out from before you. 13  You shall be perfect with Yahweh your God. 14  For these nations, that you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice sorcery, and to diviners; but as for you, Yahweh your God has not allowed you so to do.

God Promises a Prophet like Moses

15  Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him. 16  This is according to all that you desired of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, “Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I not die.” 17  Yahweh said to me, “They have well said that which they have spoken. 18  I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. 19  It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20  But the prophet, who shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.” 21  If you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which Yahweh has not spoken?” 22  when a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh, if the thing doesn’t follow, nor happen, that is the thing which Yahweh has not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him.

The Cities of Refuge

19 1  When Yahweh your God shall cut off the nations, whose land Yahweh your God gives you, and you succeed them, and dwell in their cities, and in their houses; 2  you shall set apart three cities for you in the midst of your land, which Yahweh your God gives you to possess it. 3  You shall prepare you the way, and divide the borders of your land, which Yahweh your God causes you to inherit, into three parts, that every manslayer may flee there. 4  This is the case of the manslayer, that shall flee there and live: whoever kills his neighbor unawares, and didn’t hate him in time past; 5  as when a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to chop wood, and his hand fetches a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle, and lights on his neighbor, so that he dies; he shall flee to 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 strike him mortally; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he didn’t hate him in time past. 7  Therefore I command you, saying, You shall set apart three cities for yourselves. 8  If Yahweh your God enlarges your border, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which he promised to give to your fathers; 9  if you keep all this commandment to do it, which I command you this day, to love Yahweh your God, and to walk ever in his ways; then you shall add three cities more for yourselves, besides these three: 10  that innocent blood not be shed in the midst of your land, which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance, and so blood be on you. 11  But if any man hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises up against him, and strikes him mortally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities; 12  then the elders of his city shall send and bring him there, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13  Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.

14  You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set, in your inheritance which you shall inherit, in the land that Yahweh your God gives you to possess it.

The Law concerning Witnesses

15  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: 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 wrongdoing, 17  then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before Yahweh, before the priests and the judges who shall be in those days; 18  and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother; 19  then you shall do to him as he had thought to do to his brother: so you shall put away the evil from the midst of you. 20  Those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in the midst of you. 21  Your eyes shall not pity; life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

The Laws concerning War

20 1  When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than you, you shall not be afraid of them; for Yahweh your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2  It shall be, when you draw near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people, 3  and shall tell them, “Hear, Israel, you draw near this day to battle against your enemies: don’t let your heart faint; don’t be afraid, nor tremble, neither be scared of them; 4  for Yahweh your God is he who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” 5  The officers shall speak to the people, saying, “What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6  What man is there who has planted a vineyard, and has not used its fruit? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man use its fruit. 7  What man is there who has pledged to be married a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.” 8  The officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, “What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest his brother’s heart melt as his heart.” 9  It shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking to the people, that they shall appoint captains of armies at the head of the people.

10  When you draw near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it. 11  It shall be, if it makes you answer of peace, and opens to you, then it shall be, that all the people who are found therein shall become tributary to you, and shall serve you. 12  If it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it: 13  and when Yahweh your God delivers it into your hand, you shall strike every male of it with the edge of the sword: 14  but the women, and the little ones, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, even all its spoil, you shall take for a prey to yourself; and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies, which Yahweh your God has given you. 15  Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16  But of the cities of these peoples, that Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes; 17  but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; as Yahweh your God has commanded you; 18  that they not teach you to do after all their abominations, which they have done to their gods; so would you sin against Yahweh your God. 19  When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you? 20  Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall.

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