Laws Concerning Unsolved Murder
21:1 If a homicide victim 1 should be found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you, 2 and no one knows who killed 3 him, 21:2 your elders and judges must go out and measure how far it is to the cities in the vicinity of the corpse. 4 21:3 Then the elders of the city nearest to the corpse 5 must take from the herd a heifer that has not been worked – that has never pulled with the yoke – 21:4 and bring the heifer down to a wadi with flowing water, 6 to a valley that is neither plowed nor sown. 7 There at the wadi they are to break the heifer’s neck. 21:5 Then the Levitical priests 8 will approach (for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in his name, 9 and to decide 10 every judicial verdict 11 ) 21:6 and all the elders of that city nearest the corpse 12 must wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 13 21:7 Then they must proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood, nor have we 14 witnessed the crime. 15 21:8 Do not blame 16 your people Israel whom you redeemed, O Lord, and do not hold them accountable for the bloodshed of an innocent person.” 17 Then atonement will be made for the bloodshed. 21:9 In this manner you will purge out the guilt of innocent blood from among you, for you must do what is right before 18 the Lord.