Bible: Deuteronomy 5-26

The Opening Exhortation

5:1 Then Moses called all the people of Israel together and said to them: 1  “Listen, Israel, to the statutes and ordinances that I am about to deliver to you today; learn them and be careful to keep them! 5:2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 5:3 He 2  did not make this covenant with our ancestors 3  but with us, we who are here today, all of us living now. 5:4 The Lord spoke face to face with you at the mountain, from the middle of the fire. 5:5 (I was standing between the Lord and you at that time to reveal to you the message 4  of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.) He said:

The Ten Commandments

5:6I am the Lord your God, he who brought you from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery. 5:7 You must not have any other gods 5  besides me. 6  5:8 You must not make for yourself an image 7  of anything in heaven above, on earth below, or in the waters beneath. 8  5:9 You must not worship or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. I punish 9  the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject 10  me, 11  5:10 but I show covenant faithfulness 12  to the thousands 13  who choose 14  me and keep my commandments. 5:11 You must not make use of the name of the Lord your God for worthless purposes, 15  for the Lord will not exonerate anyone who abuses his name that way. 16  5:12 Be careful to observe 17  the Sabbath day just as the Lord your God has commanded you. 5:13 You are to work and do all your tasks in six days, 5:14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath 18  of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, 19  so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest. 5:15 Recall that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there by strength and power. 20  That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to observe 21  the Sabbath day. 5:16 Honor 22  your father and your mother just as the Lord your God has commanded you to do, so that your days may be extended and that it may go well with you in the land that he 23  is about to give you. 5:17 You must not murder. 24  5:18 You must not commit adultery. 5:19 You must not steal. 5:20 You must not offer false testimony against another. 25  5:21 You must not desire 26  another man’s 27  wife, nor should you crave his 28  house, his field, his male and female servants, his ox, his donkey, or anything else he owns.” 29 

The Narrative of the Sinai Revelation and Israel’s Response

5:22 The Lord said these things to your entire assembly at the mountain from the middle of the fire, the cloud, and the darkness with a loud voice, and that was all he said. 30  Then he inscribed the words 31  on two stone tablets and gave them to me. 5:23 Then, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was ablaze, all your tribal leaders and elders approached me. 5:24 You said, “The Lord our God has shown us his great glory 32  and we have heard him speak from the middle of the fire. It is now clear to us 33  that God can speak to human beings and they can keep on living. 5:25 But now, why should we die, because this intense fire will consume us! If we keep hearing the voice of the Lord our God we will die! 5:26 Who is there from the entire human race 34  who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the middle of the fire as we have, and has lived? 5:27 You go near so that you can hear everything the Lord our God is saying and then you can tell us whatever he 35  says to you; then we will pay attention and do it.” 5:28 When the Lord heard you speaking to me, he 36  said to me, “I have heard what these people have said to you – they have spoken well. 5:29 If only it would really be their desire to fear me and obey 37  all my commandments in the future, so that it may go well with them and their descendants forever. 5:30 Go and tell them, ‘Return to your tents!’ 5:31 But as for you, remain here with me so I can declare to you all the commandments, 38  statutes, and ordinances that you are to teach them, so that they can carry them out in the land I am about to give them.” 39  5:32 Be careful, therefore, to do exactly what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn right or left! 5:33 Walk just as he 40  has commanded you so that you may live, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long 41  in the land you are going to possess.

Exhortation to Keep the Covenant Principles

6:1 Now these are the commandments, 42  statutes, and ordinances that the Lord your God instructed me to teach you so that you may carry them out in the land where you are headed 43  6:2 and that you may so revere the Lord your God that you will keep all his statutes and commandments 44  that I am giving 45  you – you, your children, and your grandchildren – all your lives, to prolong your days. 6:3 Pay attention, Israel, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in number 46 as the Lord, God of your ancestors, 47  said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Essence of the Covenant Principles

6:4 Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 48  6:5 You must love 49  the Lord your God with your whole mind, 50  your whole being, 51  and all your strength. 52 

Exhortation to Teach the Covenant Principles

6:6 These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, 6:7 and you must teach 53  them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, 54  as you lie down, and as you get up. 6:8 You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm 55  and fasten them as symbols 56  on your forehead. 6:9 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. 57 

Exhortation to Worship the Lord Exclusively

6:10 Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you – a land with large, fine cities you did not build, 6:11 houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill, 6:12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, that place of slavery. 58  6:13 You must revere the Lord your God, serve him, and take oaths using only his name. 6:14 You must not go after other gods, those 59  of the surrounding peoples, 6:15 for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a jealous God and his anger will erupt against you and remove you from the land. 60 

Exhortation to Obey the Lord Exclusively

6:16 You must not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 61  6:17 Keep his 62  commandments very carefully, 63  as well as the stipulations and statutes he commanded you to observe. 6:18 Do whatever is proper 64  and good before the Lord so that it may go well with you and that you may enter and occupy the good land that he 65  promised your ancestors, 6:19 and that you may drive out all your enemies just as the Lord said.

Exhortation to Remember the Past

6:20 When your children 66  ask you later on, “What are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord our God commanded you? 6:21 you must say to them, 67  “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a powerful way. 68  6:22 And he 69  brought signs and great, devastating wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on his whole family 70  before our very eyes. 6:23 He delivered us from there so that he could give us the land he had promised our ancestors. 6:24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these statutes and to revere him 71  so that it may always go well for us and he may preserve us, as he has to this day. 6:25 We will be innocent if we carefully keep all these commandments 72  before the Lord our God, just as he demands.” 73 

The Dispossession of Nonvassals

7:1 When the Lord your God brings you to the land that you are going to occupy and forces out many nations before you – Hittites, 74  Girgashites, 75  Amorites, 76  Canaanites, 77  Perizzites, 78  Hivites, 79  and Jebusites, 80  seven 81  nations more numerous and powerful than you – 7:2 and he 82  delivers them over to you and you attack them, you must utterly annihilate 83  them. Make no treaty 84  with them and show them no mercy! 7:3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 7:4 for they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will erupt against you and he will quickly destroy you. 7:5 Instead, this is what you must do to them: You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, 85  cut down their sacred Asherah poles, 86  and burn up their idols. 7:6 For you are a people holy 87  to the Lord your God. He 88  has chosen you to be his people, prized 89  above all others on the face of the earth.

The Basis of Israel’s Election

7:7 It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the Lord favored and chose you – for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. 7:8 Rather it is because of his 90  love 91  for you and his faithfulness to the promise 92  he solemnly vowed 93  to your ancestors 94  that the Lord brought you out with great power, 95  redeeming 96  you from the place of slavery, from the power 97  of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 7:9 So realize that the Lord your God is the true God, 98  the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully 99  with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 7:10 but who pays back those who hate 100  him as they deserve and destroys them. He will not ignore 101  those who hate him but will repay them as they deserve! 7:11 So keep the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that I today am commanding you to do.

Promises of Good for Covenant Obedience

7:12 If you obey these ordinances and are careful to do them, the Lord your God will faithfully keep covenant with you 102  as he promised 103  your ancestors. 7:13 He will love and bless you, and make you numerous. He will bless you with many children, 104  with the produce of your soil, your grain, your new wine, your oil, the offspring of your oxen, and the young of your flocks in the land which he promised your ancestors to give you. 7:14 You will be blessed beyond all peoples; there will be no barrenness 105  among you or your livestock. 7:15 The Lord will protect you from all sickness, and you will not experience any of the terrible diseases that you knew in Egypt; instead he will inflict them on all those who hate you.

Exhortation to Destroy Canaanite Paganism

7:16 You must destroy 106  all the people whom the Lord your God is about to deliver over to you; you must not pity them or worship 107  their gods, for that will be a snare to you. 7:17 If you think, “These nations are more numerous than I – how can I dispossess them?” 7:18 you must not fear them. You must carefully recall 108  what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, 7:19 the great judgments 109  you saw, the signs and wonders, the strength and power 110  by which he 111  brought you out – thus the Lord your God will do to all the people you fear. 7:20 Furthermore, the Lord your God will release hornets 112  among them until the very last ones who hide from you 113  perish. 7:21 You must not tremble in their presence, for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a great and awesome God. 7:22 He, 114  the God who leads you, will expel the nations little by little. You will not be allowed to destroy them all at once lest the wild animals overrun you. 7:23 The Lord your God will give them over to you; he will throw them into a great panic 115  until they are destroyed. 7:24 He will hand over their kings to you and you will erase their very names from memory. 116  Nobody will be able to resist you until you destroy them. 7:25 You must burn the images of their gods, but do not covet the silver and gold that covers them so much that you take it for yourself and thus become ensnared by it; for it is abhorrent 117  to the Lord your God. 7:26 You must not bring any abhorrent thing into your house and thereby become an object of divine wrath 118  along with it. 119  You must absolutely detest 120  and abhor it, 121  for it is an object of divine wrath.

The Lord’s Provision in the Desert

8:1 You must keep carefully all these commandments 122  I am giving 123  you today so that you may live, increase in number, 124  and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised to your ancestors. 125  8:2 Remember the whole way by which he 126  has brought you these forty years through the desert 127  so that he might, by humbling you, test you to see if you have it within you to keep his commandments or not. 8:3 So he humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you with unfamiliar manna. 128  He did this to teach you 129  that humankind 130  cannot live by bread 131  alone, but also by everything that comes from the Lord’s mouth. 132  8:4 Your clothing did not wear out nor did your feet swell all these forty years. 8:5 Be keenly aware that just as a parent disciplines his child, 133  the Lord your God disciplines you. 8:6 So you must keep his 134  commandments, live according to his standards, 135  and revere him. 8:7 For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of brooks, 136  springs, and fountains flowing forth in valleys and hills, 8:8 a land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive trees and honey, 8:9 a land where you may eat food 137  in plenty and find no lack of anything, a land whose stones are iron 138  and from whose hills you can mine copper. 8:10 You will eat your fill and then praise the Lord your God because of the good land he has given you.

Exhortation to Remember That Blessing Comes from God

8:11 Be sure you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today. 8:12 When you eat your fill, when you build and occupy good houses, 8:13 when your cattle and flocks increase, when you have plenty of silver and gold, and when you have abundance of everything, 8:14 be sure 139  you do not feel self-important and forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery, 8:15 and who brought you through the great, fearful desert of venomous serpents 140  and scorpions, an arid place with no water. He made water flow 141  from a flint rock and 8:16 fed you in the desert with manna (which your ancestors had never before known) so that he might by humbling you test you 142  and eventually bring good to you. 8:17 Be careful 143  not to say, “My own ability and skill 144  have gotten me this wealth.” 8:18 You must remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors, 145  even as he has to this day. 8:19 Now if you forget the Lord your God at all 146  and follow other gods, worshiping and prostrating yourselves before them, I testify to you today that you will surely be annihilated. 8:20 Just like the nations the Lord is about to destroy from your sight, so he will do to you 147  because you would not obey him. 148 

Theological Justification of the Conquest

9:1 Listen, Israel: Today you are about to cross the Jordan so you can dispossess the nations there, people greater and stronger than you who live in large cities with extremely high fortifications. 149  9:2 They include the Anakites, 150  a numerous 151  and tall people whom you know about and of whom it is said, “Who is able to resist the Anakites? 9:3 Understand today that the Lord your God who goes before you is a devouring fire; he will defeat and subdue them before you. You will dispossess and destroy them quickly just as he 152  has told you. 9:4 Do not think to yourself after the Lord your God has driven them out before you, “Because of my own righteousness the Lord has brought me here to possess this land.” It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out ahead of you. 9:5 It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, 153  that you have come here to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out ahead of you in order to confirm the promise he 154  made on oath to your ancestors, 155  to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 9:6 Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn 156  people!

The History of Israel’s Stubbornness

9:7 Remember – don’t ever forget 157 how you provoked the Lord your God in the desert; from the time you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place you were constantly rebelling against him. 158  9:8 At Horeb you provoked him and he was angry enough with you to destroy you. 9:9 When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained there 159  forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. 9:10 The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger 160  of God, and on them was everything 161  he 162  said to you at the mountain from the midst of the fire at the time of that assembly. 9:11 Now at the end of the forty days and nights the Lord presented me with the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 9:12 And he said to me, “Get up, go down at once from here because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have sinned! They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a cast metal image.” 163  9:13 Moreover, he said to me, “I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn 164  lot! 9:14 Stand aside 165  and I will destroy them, obliterating their very name from memory, 166  and I will make you into a stronger and more numerous nation than they are.”

9:15 So I turned and went down the mountain while it 167  was blazing with fire; the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands. 9:16 When I looked, you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God and had cast for yourselves a metal calf; 168  you had quickly turned aside from the way he 169  had commanded you! 9:17 I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, 170  and shattered them before your very eyes. 9:18 Then I again fell down before the Lord for forty days and nights; I ate and drank nothing because of all the sin you had committed, doing such evil before the Lord as to enrage him. 9:19 For I was terrified at the Lord’s intense anger 171  that threatened to destroy you. But he 172  listened to me this time as well. 9:20 The Lord was also angry enough at Aaron to kill him, but at that time I prayed for him 173  too. 9:21 As for your sinful thing 174  that you had made, the calf, I took it, melted it down, 175  ground it up until it was as fine as dust, and tossed the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain. 9:22 Moreover, you continued to provoke the Lord at Taberah, 176  Massah, 177  and Kibroth-Hattaavah. 178  9:23 And when he 179  sent you from Kadesh-Barnea and told you, “Go up and possess the land I have given you,” you rebelled against the Lord your God 180  and would neither believe nor obey him. 9:24 You have been rebelling against him 181  from the very first day I knew you!

Moses’ Plea on Behalf of the Lord’s Reputation

9:25 I lay flat on the ground before the Lord for forty days and nights, 182  for he 183  had said he would destroy you. 9:26 I prayed to him: 184  O, Lord God, 185  do not destroy your people, your valued property 186  that you have powerfully redeemed, 187  whom you brought out of Egypt by your strength. 188  9:27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; ignore the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of these people. 9:28 Otherwise the people of the land 189  from which you brought us will say, “The Lord was unable to bring them to the land he promised them, and because of his hatred for them he has brought them out to kill them in the desert.” 190  9:29 They are your people, your valued property, 191  whom you brought out with great strength and power. 192 

The Opportunity to Begin Again

10:1 At that same time the Lord said to me, “Carve out for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up the mountain to me; also make for yourself a wooden ark. 193  10:2 I will write on the tablets the same words 194  that were on the first tablets you broke, and you must put them into the ark.” 10:3 So I made an ark of acacia 195  wood and carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Then I went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 10:4 The Lord 196  then wrote on the tablets the same words, 197  the ten commandments, 198  which he 199  had spoken to you at the mountain from the middle of the fire at the time of that assembly, and he 200  gave them to me. 10:5 Then I turned, went down the mountain, and placed the tablets into the ark I had made – they are still there, just as the Lord commanded me.

Conclusion of the Historical Resume

10:6During those days the Israelites traveled from Beeroth Bene-Yaaqan 201  to Moserah. 202  There Aaron died and was buried, and his son Eleazar became priest in his place. 10:7 From there they traveled to Gudgodah, 203  and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, 204  a place of flowing streams. 10:8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi 205  to carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, to stand before the Lord to serve him, and to formulate blessings 206  in his name, as they do to this very day. 10:9 Therefore Levi has no allotment or inheritance 207  among his brothers; 208  the Lord is his inheritance just as the Lord your God told him. 10:10 As for me, I stayed at the mountain as I did the first time, forty days and nights. The Lord listened to me that time as well and decided not to destroy you. 10:11 Then he 209  said to me, “Get up, set out leading 210  the people so they may go and possess 211  the land I promised to give to their ancestors.” 212 

An Exhortation to Love Both God and People

10:12 Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, 213  to obey all his commandments, 214  to love him, to serve him 215  with all your mind and being, 216  10:13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving 217  you today for your own good? 10:14 The heavens – indeed the highest heavens – belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it. 10:15 However, only to your ancestors did he 218  show his loving favor, 219  and he chose you, their descendants, 220  from all peoples – as is apparent today. 10:16 Therefore, cleanse 221  your heart and stop being so stubborn! 222  10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, 10:18 who justly treats 223  the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. 10:19 So you must love the resident foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 10:20 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, be loyal to him and take oaths only in his name. 10:21 He is the one you should praise; 224  he is your God, the one who has done these great and awesome things for you that you have seen. 10:22 When your ancestors went down to Egypt, they numbered only seventy, but now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky. 225 

Reiteration of the Call to Obedience

11:1 You must love the Lord your God and do what he requires; keep his statutes, ordinances, and commandments 226  at all times. 11:2 Bear in mind today that I am not speaking 227  to your children who have not personally experienced the judgments 228  of the Lord your God, which revealed 229  his greatness, strength, and power. 230  11:3 They did not see 231  the awesome deeds he performed 232  in the midst of Egypt against Pharaoh king of Egypt and his whole land, 11:4 or what he did to the army of Egypt, including their horses and chariots, when he made the waters of the Red Sea 233  overwhelm them while they were pursuing you and he 234  annihilated them. 235  11:5 They did not see 236  what he did to you in the desert before you reached this place, 11:6 or what he did to Dathan and Abiram, 237  sons of Eliab the Reubenite, 238  when the earth opened its mouth in the middle of the Israelite camp 239  and swallowed them, their families, 240  their tents, and all the property they brought with them. 241  11:7 I am speaking to you 242  because you are the ones who saw all the great deeds of the Lord!

The Abundance of the Land of Promise

11:8 Now pay attention to all the commandments 243  I am giving 244  you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, 245  11:9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors 246  and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 11:10 For the land where you are headed 247  is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand 248  like a vegetable garden. 11:11 Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy 249  is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, 250  11:12 a land the Lord your God looks after. 251  He is constantly attentive to it 252  from the beginning to the end of the year. 253  11:13 Now, if you pay close attention 254  to my commandments that I am giving you today and love 255  the Lord your God and serve him with all your mind and being, 256  11:14 then he promises, 257  “I will send rain for your land 258  in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, 259  so that you may gather in your grain, new wine, and olive oil. 11:15 I will provide pasture 260  for your livestock and you will eat your fill.”

Exhortation to Instruction and Obedience

11:16 Make sure you do not turn away to serve and worship other gods! 261  11:17 Then the anger of the Lord will erupt 262  against you and he will close up the sky 263  so that it does not rain. The land will not yield its produce, and you will soon be removed 264  from the good land that the Lord 265  is about to give you. 11:18 Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, 266  and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols 267  on your forehead. 11:19 Teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, 268  as you lie down, and as you get up. 11:20 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates 11:21 so that your days and those of your descendants may be extended in the land which the Lord promised to give to your ancestors, like the days of heaven itself. 269  11:22 For if you carefully observe all of these commandments 270  I am giving you 271  and love the Lord your God, live according to his standards, 272  and remain loyal to him, 11:23 then he 273  will drive out all these nations ahead of you, and you will dispossess nations greater and stronger than you. 11:24 Every place you set your foot 274  will be yours; your border will extend from the desert to Lebanon and from the River (that is, the Euphrates) as far as the Mediterranean Sea. 275  11:25 Nobody will be able to resist you; the Lord your God will spread the fear and terror of you over the whole land on which you walk, just as he promised you.

Anticipation of a Blessing and Cursing Ceremony

11:26 Take note – I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 276  11:27 the blessing if you take to heart 277  the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 11:28 and the curse if you pay no attention 278  to his 279  commandments and turn from the way I am setting before 280  you today to pursue 281  other gods you have not known. 11:29 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are to possess, you must pronounce the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 282  11:30 Are they not across the Jordan River, 283  toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah opposite Gilgal 284  near the oak 285  of Moreh? 11:31 For you are about to cross the Jordan to possess the land the Lord your God is giving you, and you will possess and inhabit it. 11:32 Be certain to keep all the statutes and ordinances that I am presenting to you today.

The Central Sanctuary

12:1 These are the statutes and ordinances you must be careful to obey as long as you live in the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 286  has given you to possess. 287  12:2 You must by all means destroy 288  all the places where the nations you are about to dispossess worship their gods – on the high mountains and hills and under every leafy tree. 289  12:3 You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, 290  burn up their sacred Asherah poles, 291  and cut down the images of their gods; you must eliminate their very memory from that place. 12:4 You must not worship the Lord your God the way they worship. 12:5 But you must seek only the place he 292  chooses from all your tribes to establish his name as his place of residence, 293  and you must go there. 12:6 And there you must take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the personal offerings you have prepared, 294  your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 12:7 Both you and your families 295  must feast there before the Lord your God and rejoice in all the output of your labor with which he 296  has blessed you. 12:8 You must not do like we are doing here today, with everyone 297  doing what seems best to him, 12:9 for you have not yet come to the final stop 298  and inheritance the Lord your God is giving you. 12:10 When you do go across the Jordan River 299  and settle in the land he 300  is granting you as an inheritance and you find relief from all the enemies who surround you, you will live in safety. 301  12:11 Then you must come to the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to reside, bringing 302  everything I am commanding you – your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes, the personal offerings you have prepared, 303  and all your choice votive offerings which you devote to him. 304  12:12 You shall rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God, along with your sons, daughters, male and female servants, and the Levites in your villages 305  (since they have no allotment or inheritance with you). 306  12:13 Make sure you do not offer burnt offerings in any place you wish, 12:14 for you may do so 307  only in the place the Lord chooses in one of your tribal areas – there you may do everything I am commanding you. 308 

Regulations for Profane Slaughter

12:15 On the other hand, you may slaughter and eat meat as you please when the Lord your God blesses you 309  in all your villages. 310  Both the ritually pure and impure may eat it, whether it is a gazelle or an ibex. 12:16 However, you must not eat blood – pour it out on the ground like water. 12:17 You will not be allowed to eat in your villages your tithe of grain, new wine, olive oil, the firstborn of your herd and flock, any votive offerings you have vowed, or your freewill and personal offerings. 12:18 Only in the presence of the Lord your God may you eat these, in the place he 311  chooses. This applies to you, your son, your daughter, your male and female servants, and the Levites 312  in your villages. In that place you will rejoice before the Lord your God in all the output of your labor. 313  12:19 Be careful not to overlook the Levites as long as you live in the land.

The Sanctity of Blood

12:20 When the Lord your God extends your borders as he said he would do and you say, “I want to eat meat just as I please,” 314  you may do so as you wish. 315  12:21 If the place he 316  chooses to locate his name is too far for you, you may slaughter any of your herd and flock he 317  has given you just as I have stipulated; you may eat them in your villages 318  just as you wish. 12:22 Like you eat the gazelle or ibex, so you may eat these; the ritually impure and pure alike may eat them. 12:23 However, by no means eat the blood, for the blood is life itself 319  – you must not eat the life with the meat! 12:24 You must not eat it! You must pour it out on the ground like water. 12:25 You must not eat it so that it may go well with you and your children after you; you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight. 320  12:26 Only the holy things and votive offerings that belong to you, you must pick up and take to the place the Lord will choose. 321  12:27 You must offer your burnt offerings, both meat and blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; the blood of your other sacrifices 322  you must pour out on his 323  altar while you eat the meat. 12:28 Pay careful attention to all these things I am commanding you so that it may always go well with you and your children after you when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

The Abomination of Pagan Gods

12:29 When the Lord your God eliminates the nations from the place where you are headed and you dispossess them, you will settle down in their land. 324  12:30 After they have been destroyed from your presence, be careful not to be ensnared like they are; do not pursue their gods and say, “How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.” 12:31 You must not worship the Lord your God the way they do! 325  For everything that is abhorrent 326  to him, 327  everything he hates, they have done when worshiping their gods. They even burn up their sons and daughters before their gods!

Idolatry and False Prophets

12:32 328  You 329  must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! 330  13:1 Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams 331  should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder, 332  13:2 and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, “Let us follow other gods– gods whom you have not previously known – “and let us serve them.” 13:3 You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer, 333  for the Lord your God will be testing you to see if you love him 334  with all your mind and being. 335  13:4 You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him. 13:5 As for that prophet or dreamer, 336  he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from that place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge out evil from within. 337 

False Prophets in the Family

13:6 Suppose your own full brother, 338  your son, your daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend should seduce you secretly and encourage you to go and serve other gods 339  that neither you nor your ancestors 340  have previously known, 341  13:7 the gods of the surrounding people (whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth 342  to the other). 13:8 You must not give in to him or even listen to him; do not feel sympathy for him or spare him or cover up for him. 13:9 Instead, you must kill him without fail! 343  Your own hand must be the first to strike him, 344  and then the hands of the whole community. 13:10 You must stone him to death 345  because he tried to entice you away from the Lord your God, who delivered you from the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. 13:11 Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid; no longer will they continue to do evil like this among you. 346 

Punishment of Community Idolatry

13:12 Suppose you should hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you as a place to live, that 13:13 some evil people 347  have departed from among you to entice the inhabitants of their cities, 348  saying, “Let’s go and serve other gods(whom you have not known before). 349  13:14 You must investigate thoroughly and inquire carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing is being done among you, 350  13:15 you must by all means 351  slaughter the inhabitants of that city with the sword; annihilate 352  with the sword everyone in it, as well as the livestock. 13:16 You must gather all of its plunder into the middle of the plaza 353  and burn the city and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It will be an abandoned ruin 354  forever – it must never be rebuilt again. 13:17 You must not take for yourself anything that has been placed under judgment. 355  Then the Lord will relent from his intense anger, show you compassion, have mercy on you, and multiply you as he promised your ancestors. 13:18 Thus you must obey the Lord your God, keeping all his commandments that I am giving 356  you today and doing what is right 357  before him. 358 

The Holy and the Profane

14:1 You are children 359  of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave your forehead bald 360  for the sake of the dead. 14:2 For you are a people holy 361  to the Lord your God. He 362  has chosen you to be his people, prized 363  above all others on the face of the earth. 14:3 You must not eat any forbidden 364  thing. 14:4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 14:5 the ibex, 365  the gazelle, 366  the deer, 367  the wild goat, the antelope, 368  the wild oryx, 369  and the mountain sheep. 370  14:6 You may eat any animal that has hooves divided into two parts and that chews the cud. 371  14:7 However, you may not eat the following animals among those that chew the cud or those that have divided hooves: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger. 372  (Although they chew the cud, they do not have divided hooves and are therefore ritually impure to you). 14:8 Also the pig is ritually impure to you; though it has divided hooves, 373  it does not chew the cud. You may not eat their meat or even touch their remains. 14:9 These you may eat from among water creatures: anything with fins and scales you may eat, 14:10 but whatever does not have fins and scales you may not eat; it is ritually impure to you. 14:11 All ritually clean birds you may eat. 14:12 These are the ones you may not eat: the eagle, 374  the vulture, 375  the black vulture, 376  14:13 the kite, the black kite, the dayyah 377  after its species, 14:14 every raven after its species, 14:15 the ostrich, 378  the owl, 379  the seagull, the falcon 380  after its species, 14:16 the little owl, the long-eared owl, the white owl, 381  14:17 the jackdaw, 382  the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 14:18 the stork, the heron after its species, the hoopoe, the bat, 14:19 and any winged thing on the ground are impure to you – they may not be eaten. 383  14:20 You may eat any clean bird. 14:21 You may not eat any corpse, though you may give it to the resident foreigner who is living in your villages 384  and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. You are a people holy to the Lord your God. Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. 385 

The Offering of Tribute

14:22 You must be certain to tithe 386  all the produce of your seed that comes from the field year after year. 14:23 In the presence of the Lord your God you must eat from the tithe of your grain, your new wine, 387  your olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the place he chooses to locate his name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. 14:24 When he 388  blesses you, if the 389  place where he chooses to locate his name is distant, 14:25 you may convert the tithe into money, secure the money, 390  and travel to the place the Lord your God chooses for himself. 14:26 Then you may spend the money however you wish for cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and enjoy it. 14:27 As for the Levites in your villages, you must not ignore them, for they have no allotment or inheritance along with you. 14:28 At the end of every three years you must bring all the tithe of your produce, in that very year, and you must store it up in your villages. 14:29 Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work you do.

Release for Debt Slaves

15:1 At the end of every seven years you must declare a cancellation 391  of debts. 15:2 This is the nature of the cancellation: Every creditor must remit what he has loaned to another person; 392  he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite, 393  for it is to be recognized as “the Lord’s cancellation of debts.” 15:3 You may exact payment from a foreigner, but whatever your fellow Israelite 394  owes you, you must remit. 15:4 However, there should not be any poor among you, for the Lord 395  will surely bless 396  you in the land that he 397  is giving you as an inheritance, 398  15:5 if you carefully obey 399  him 400  by keeping 401  all these commandments that I am giving 402  you today. 15:6 For the Lord your God will bless you just as he has promised; you will lend to many nations but will not borrow from any, and you will rule over many nations but they will not rule over you.

The Spirit of Liberality

15:7 If a fellow Israelite 403  from one of your villages 404  in the land that the Lord your God is giving you should be poor, you must not harden your heart or be insensitive 405  to his impoverished condition. 406  15:8 Instead, you must be sure to open your hand to him and generously lend 407  him whatever he needs. 408  15:9 Be careful lest you entertain the wicked thought that the seventh year, the year of cancellation of debts, has almost arrived, and your attitude 409  be wrong toward your impoverished fellow Israelite 410  and you do not lend 411  him anything; he will cry out to the Lord against you and you will be regarded as having sinned. 412  15:10 You must by all means lend 413  to him and not be upset by doing it, 414  for because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you attempt. 15:11 There will never cease to be some poor people in the land; therefore, I am commanding you to make sure you open 415  your hand to your fellow Israelites 416  who are needy and poor in your land.

Release of Debt Slaves

15:12 If your fellow Hebrew 417 whether male or female 418 is sold to you and serves you for six years, then in the seventh year you must let that servant 419  go free. 420  15:13 If you set them free, you must not send them away empty-handed. 15:14 You must supply them generously 421  from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress – as the Lord your God has blessed you, you must give to them. 15:15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore, I am commanding you to do this thing today. 15:16 However, if the servant 422  says to you, “I do not want to leave 423  you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 15:17 you shall take an awl and pierce a hole through his ear to the door. 424  Then he will become your servant permanently (this applies to your female servant as well). 15:18 You should not consider it difficult to let him go free, for he will have served you for six years, twice 425  the time of a hired worker; the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

Giving God the Best

15:19 You must set apart 426  for the Lord your God every firstborn male born to your herds and flocks. You must not work the firstborn of your bulls or shear the firstborn of your flocks. 15:20 You and your household must eat them annually before the Lord your God in the place he 427  chooses. 15:21 If they have any kind of blemish – lameness, blindness, or anything else 428 you may not offer them as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. 15:22 You may eat it in your villages, 429  whether you are ritually impure or clean, 430  just as you would eat a gazelle or an ibex. 15:23 However, you must not eat its blood; you must pour it out on the ground like water.

The Passover-Unleavened Bread Festival

16:1 Observe the month Abib 431  and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in that month 432  he 433  brought you out of Egypt by night. 16:2 You must sacrifice the Passover animal 434  (from the flock or the herd) to the Lord your God in the place where he 435  chooses to locate his name. 16:3 You must not eat any yeast with it; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, symbolic of affliction, for you came out of Egypt hurriedly. You must do this so you will remember for the rest of your life the day you came out of the land of Egypt. 16:4 There must not be a scrap of yeast within your land 436  for seven days, nor can any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until the next morning. 437  16:5 You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of your villages 438  that the Lord your God is giving you, 16:6 but you must sacrifice it 439  in the evening in 440  the place where he 441  chooses to locate his name, at sunset, the time of day you came out of Egypt. 16:7 You must cook 442  and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses; you may return the next morning to your tents. 16:8 You must eat bread made without yeast for six days. The seventh day you are to hold an assembly for the Lord your God; you must not do any work on that day. 443 

The Festival of Weeks

16:9 You must count seven weeks; you must begin to count them 444  from the time you begin to harvest the standing grain. 16:10 Then you are to celebrate the Festival of Weeks 445  before the Lord your God with the voluntary offering 446  that you will bring, in proportion to how he 447  has blessed you. 16:11 You shall rejoice before him 448 you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites in your villages, 449  the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows among you – in the place where the Lord chooses to locate his name. 16:12 Furthermore, remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and so be careful to observe these statutes.

The Festival of Temporary Shelters

16:13 You must celebrate the Festival of Temporary Shelters 450  for seven days, at the time of the grain and grape harvest. 451  16:14 You are to rejoice in your festival, you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows who are in your villages. 452  16:15 You are to celebrate the festival seven days before the Lord your God in the place he 453  chooses, for he 454  will bless you in all your productivity and in whatever you do; 455  so you will indeed rejoice! 16:16 Three times a year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Temporary Shelters; and they must not appear before him 456  empty-handed. 16:17 Every one of you must give as you are able, 457  according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.

Provision for Justice

16:18 You must appoint judges and civil servants 458  for each tribe in all your villages 459  that the Lord your God is giving you, and they must judge the people fairly. 460  16:19 You must not pervert justice or show favor. Do not take a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and distort 461  the words of the righteous. 462  16:20 You must pursue justice alone 463  so that you may live and inherit the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Examples of Legal Cases

16:21 You must not plant any kind of tree as a sacred Asherah pole 464  near the altar of the Lord your God which you build for yourself. 16:22 You must not erect a sacred pillar, 465  a thing the Lord your God detests. 17:1 You must not sacrifice to him 466  a bull or sheep that has a blemish or any other defect, because that is considered offensive 467  to the Lord your God. 17:2 Suppose a man or woman is discovered among you – in one of your villages 468  that the Lord your God is giving you – who sins before the Lord your God 469  and breaks his covenant 17:3 by serving other gods and worshiping them – the sun, 470  moon, or any other heavenly bodies which I have not permitted you to worship. 471  17:4 When it is reported to you and you hear about it, you must investigate carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing 472  is being done in Israel, 17:5 you must bring to your city gates 473  that man or woman who has done this wicked thing – that very man or woman – and you must stone that person to death. 474  17:6 At the testimony of two or three witnesses they must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 17:7 The witnesses 475  must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people 476  are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge evil from among you.

Appeal to a Higher Court

17:8 If a matter is too difficult for you to judge – bloodshed, 477  legal claim, 478  or assault 479  – matters of controversy in your villages 480  – you must leave there and go up to the place the Lord your God chooses. 481  17:9 You will go to the Levitical priests and the judge in office in those days and seek a solution; they will render a verdict. 17:10 You must then do as they have determined at that place the Lord chooses. Be careful to do just as you are taught. 17:11 You must do what you are instructed, and the verdict they pronounce to you, without fail. Do not deviate right or left from what they tell you. 17:12 The person who pays no attention 482  to the priest currently serving the Lord your God there, or to the verdict – that person must die, so that you may purge evil from Israel. 17:13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and not be so presumptuous again.

Provision for Kingship

17:14 When you come to the land the Lord your God is giving you and take it over and live in it and then say, “I will select a king like all the nations surrounding me,” 17:15 you must select without fail 483  a king whom the Lord your God chooses. From among your fellow citizens 484  you must appoint a king – you may not designate a foreigner who is not one of your fellow Israelites. 485  17:16 Moreover, he must not accumulate horses for himself or allow the people to return to Egypt to do so, 486  for the Lord has said you must never again return that way. 17:17 Furthermore, he must not marry many 487  wives lest his affections turn aside, and he must not accumulate much silver and gold. 17:18 When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law 488  on a scroll 489  given to him by the Levitical priests. 17:19 It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. 17:20 Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom 490  in Israel.

Provision for Priests and Levites

18:1 The Levitical priests 491 indeed, the entire tribe of Levi – will have no allotment or inheritance with Israel; they may eat the burnt offerings of the Lord and of his inheritance. 492  18:2 They 493  will have no inheritance in the midst of their fellow Israelites; 494  the Lord alone is their inheritance, just as he had told them. 18:3 This shall be the priestsfair allotment 495  from the people who offer sacrifices, whether bull or sheep – they must give to the priest the shoulder, the jowls, and the stomach. 18:4 You must give them the best of your 496  grain, new wine, and olive oil, as well as the best of your wool when you shear your flocks. 18:5 For the Lord your God has chosen them and their sons from all your tribes to stand 497  and serve in his name 498  permanently. 18:6 Suppose a Levite comes by his own free will 499  from one of your villages, from any part of Israel where he is living, 500  to the place the Lord chooses 18:7 and serves in the name of the Lord his God like his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord. 18:8 He must eat the same share they do, despite any profits he may gain from the sale of his family’s inheritance. 501 

Provision for Prophetism

18:9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 18:10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, 502  anyone who practices divination, 503  an omen reader, 504  a soothsayer, 505  a sorcerer, 506  18:11 one who casts spells, 507  one who conjures up spirits, 508  a practitioner of the occult, 509  or a necromancer. 510  18:12 Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things 511  the Lord your God is about to drive them out 512  from before you. 18:13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 18:14 Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.

18:15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you – from your fellow Israelites; 513  you must listen to him. 18:16 This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our 514  God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” 18:17 The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. 18:18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 18:19 I will personally hold responsible 515  anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet 516  speaks in my name.

18:20But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized 517  him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 18:21 Now if you say to yourselves, 518 How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’ 519  18:22 whenever a prophet speaks in my 520  name and the prediction 521  is not fulfilled, 522  then I have 523  not spoken it; 524  the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”

Laws Concerning Manslaughter

19:1 When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he 525  is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses, 19:2 you must set apart for yourselves three cities 526  in the middle of your land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession. 19:3 You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent 527  of your land that the Lord your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities. 19:4 Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live, 528  if he has accidentally killed another 529  without hating him at the time of the accident. 530  19:5 Suppose he goes with someone else 531  to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax 532  to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose 533  from the handle and strikes 534  his fellow worker 535  so hard that he dies. The person responsible 536  may then flee to one of these cities to save himself. 537  19:6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, 538  and kill him, 539  though this is not a capital case 540  since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. 19:7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 19:8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors 541  and gives you all the land he pledged to them, 542  19:9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments 543  I am giving 544  you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities 545  to these three. 19:10 You must not shed innocent blood 546  in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. 547  19:11 However, suppose a person hates someone else 548  and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, 549  and then flees to one of these cities. 19:12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger 550  to die. 19:13 You must not pity him, but purge out the blood of the innocent 551  from Israel, so that it may go well with you.

Laws Concerning Witnesses

19:14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property, 552  which will have been defined 553  in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 554 

19:15 A single witness may not testify 555  against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established 556  only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 19:16 If a false 557  witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, 558  19:17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges 559  who will be in office in those days. 19:18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused, 560  19:19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge 561  evil from among you. 19:20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you. 19:21 You must not show pity; the principle will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot. 562 

Laws Concerning War with Distant Enemies

20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry 563  and troops 564  who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. 20:2 As you move forward for battle, the priest 565  will approach and say to the soldiers, 566  20:3 Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 20:4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” 567  20:5 Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, 568 Who among you 569  has built a new house and not dedicated 570  it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else 571  dedicate it. 20:6 Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it. 20:7 Or who among you 572  has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” 20:8 In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s 573  heart as fearful 574  as his own.” 20:9 Then, when the officers have finished speaking, 575  they must appoint unit commanders 576  to lead the troops.

20:10 When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. 20:11 If it accepts your terms 577  and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. 578  20:12 If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it. 20:13 The Lord your God will deliver it over to you 579  and you must kill every single male by the sword. 20:14 However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city – all its plunder – you may take for yourselves as spoil. You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you. 20:15 This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations.

Laws Concerning War with Canaanite Nations

20:16 As for the cities of these peoples that 580  the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing 581  to survive. 20:17 Instead you must utterly annihilate them 582 the Hittites, 583  Amorites, 584  Canaanites, 585  Perizzites, 586  Hivites, 587  and Jebusites 588 just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 20:18 so that they cannot teach you all the abhorrent ways they worship 589  their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God. 20:19 If you besiege a city for a long time while attempting to capture it, 590  you must not chop down its trees, 591  for you may eat fruit 592  from them and should not cut them down. A tree in the field is not human that you should besiege it! 593  20:20 However, you may chop down any tree you know is not suitable for food, 594  and you may use it to build siege works 595  against the city that is making war with you until that city falls.

Laws Concerning Unsolved Murder

21:1 If a homicide victim 596  should be found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you, 597  and no one knows who killed 598  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. 599  21:3 Then the elders of the city nearest to the corpse 600  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, 601  to a valley that is neither plowed nor sown. 602  There at the wadi they are to break the heifer’s neck. 21:5 Then the Levitical priests 603  will approach (for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in his name, 604  and to decide 605  every judicial verdict 606 ) 21:6 and all the elders of that city nearest the corpse 607  must wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. 608  21:7 Then they must proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood, nor have we 609  witnessed the crime. 610  21:8 Do not blame 611  your people Israel whom you redeemed, O Lord, and do not hold them accountable for the bloodshed of an innocent person.” 612  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 613  the Lord.

Laws Concerning Wives

21:10 When you go out to do battle with your enemies and the Lord your God allows you to prevail 614  and you take prisoners, 21:11 if you should see among them 615  an attractive woman whom you wish to take as a wife, 21:12 you may bring her back to your house. She must shave her head, 616  trim her nails, 21:13 discard the clothing she was wearing when captured, 617  and stay 618  in your house, lamenting for her father and mother for a full month. After that you may have sexual relations 619  with her and become her husband and she your wife. 21:14 If you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go 620  where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell 621  her; 622  you must not take advantage of 623  her, since you have already humiliated 624  her.

Laws Concerning Children

21:15 Suppose a man has two wives, one whom he loves more than the other, 625  and they both 626  bear him sons, with the firstborn being the child of the less loved wife. 21:16 In the day he divides his inheritance 627  he must not appoint as firstborn the son of the favorite wife in place of the other 628  wife’s son who is actually the firstborn. 21:17 Rather, he must acknowledge the son of the less loved 629  wife as firstborn and give him the double portion 630  of all he has, for that son is the beginning of his father’s procreative power 631 to him should go the right of the firstborn.

21:18 If a person has a stubborn, rebellious son who pays no attention to his father or mother, and they discipline him to no avail, 632  21:19 his father and mother must seize him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his city. 21:20 They must declare to the elders 633  of his city, “Our son is stubborn and rebellious and pays no attention to what we say – he is a glutton and drunkard.” 21:21 Then all the men of his city must stone him to death. In this way you will purge out 634  wickedness from among you, and all Israel 635  will hear about it and be afraid.

Disposition of a Criminal’s Remains

21:22 If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse 636  on a tree, 21:23 his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury 637  him that same day, for the one who is left exposed 638  on a tree is cursed by God. 639  You must not defile your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Laws Concerning Preservation of Life

22:1 When you see 640  your neighbor’s 641  ox or sheep going astray, do not ignore it; 642  you must return it without fail 643  to your neighbor. 22:2 If the owner 644  does not live 645  near you or you do not know who the owner is, 646  then you must corral the animal 647  at your house and let it stay with you until the owner looks for it; then you must return it to him. 22:3 You shall do the same to his donkey, his clothes, or anything else your neighbor 648  has lost and you have found; you must not refuse to get involved. 649  22:4 When you see 650  your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen along the road, do not ignore it; 651  instead, you must be sure 652  to help him get the animal on its feet again. 653 

22:5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, 654  nor should a man dress up in women’s clothing, for anyone who does this is offensive 655  to the Lord your God.

22:6 If you happen to notice a bird’s nest along the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and there are chicks or eggs with the mother bird sitting on them, 656  you must not take the mother from the young. 657  22:7 You must be sure 658  to let the mother go, but you may take the young for yourself. Do this so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

22:8 If you build a new house, you must construct a guard rail 659  around your roof to avoid being culpable 660  in the event someone should fall from it.

Illustrations of the Principle of Purity

22:9 You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. 661  22:10 You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 22:11 You must not wear clothing made with wool and linen meshed together. 662  22:12 You shall make yourselves tassels 663  for the four corners of the clothing you wear.

Purity in the Marriage Relationship

22:13 Suppose a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, 664  and then rejects 665  her, 22:14 accusing her of impropriety 666  and defaming her reputation 667  by saying, “I married this woman but when I had sexual relations 668  with her I discovered she was not a virgin! 22:15 Then the father and mother of the young woman must produce the evidence of virginity 669  for the elders of the city at the gate. 22:16 The young woman’s father must say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man and he has rejected 670  her. 22:17 Moreover, he has raised accusations of impropriety by saying, ‘I discovered your daughter was not a virgin,’ but this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!” The cloth must then be spread out 671  before the city’s elders. 22:18 The elders of that city must then seize the man and punish 672  him. 22:19 They will fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, for the man who made the accusation 673  ruined the reputation 674  of an Israelite virgin. She will then become his wife and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.

22:20 But if the accusation is true and the young woman was not a virgin, 22:21 the men of her city must bring the young woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death, for she has done a disgraceful thing 675  in Israel by behaving like a prostitute while living in her father’s house. In this way you will purge 676  evil from among you.

22:22 If a man is caught having sexual relations with 677  a married woman 678  both the man who had relations with the woman and the woman herself must die; in this way you will purge 679  evil from Israel.

22:23 If a virgin is engaged to a man and another man meets 680  her in the city and has sexual relations with 681  her, 22:24 you must bring the two of them to the gate of that city and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry out though in the city and the man because he violated 682  his neighbor’s fiancĂ©e; 683  in this way you will purge 684  evil from among you. 22:25 But if the man came across 685  the engaged woman in the field and overpowered her and raped 686  her, then only the rapist 687  must die. 22:26 You must not do anything to the young woman – she has done nothing deserving of death. This case is the same as when someone attacks another person 688  and murders him, 22:27 for the man 689  met her in the field and the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.

22:28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and overpowers and rapes 690  her and they are discovered. 22:29 The man who has raped her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife because he has violated her; he may never divorce her as long as he lives.

22:30 691  A man may not marry 692  his father’s former 693  wife and in this way dishonor his father. 694 

Purity in Public Worship

23:1 A man with crushed 695  or severed genitals 696  may not enter the assembly of the Lord. 697  23:2 A person of illegitimate birth 698  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so. 699 

23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite 700  may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever 701  do so, 702  23:4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired 703  Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you. 23:5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam and changed 704  the curse to a blessing, for the Lord your God loves 705  you. 23:6 You must not seek peace and prosperity for them through all the ages to come. 23:7 You must not hate an Edomite, for he is your relative; 706  you must not hate an Egyptian, for you lived as a foreigner 707  in his land. 23:8 Children of the third generation born to them 708  may enter the assembly of the Lord.

Purity in Personal Hygiene

23:9 When you go out as an army against your enemies, guard yourselves against anything impure. 709  23:10 If there is someone among you who is impure because of some nocturnal emission, 710  he must leave the camp; he may not reenter it immediately. 23:11 When evening arrives he must wash himself with water and then at sunset he may reenter the camp.

23:12 You are to have a place outside the camp to serve as a latrine. 711  23:13 You must have a spade among your other equipment and when you relieve yourself 712  outside you must dig a hole with the spade 713  and then turn and cover your excrement. 714  23:14 For the Lord your God walks about in the middle of your camp to deliver you and defeat 715  your enemies for you. Therefore your camp should be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent 716  among you and turn away from you.

Purity in the Treatment of the Nonprivileged

23:15 You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 717  23:16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages 718  he prefers; you must not oppress him.

Purity in Cultic Personnel

23:17 There must never be a sacred prostitute 719  among the young women 720  of Israel nor a sacred male prostitute 721  among the young men 722  of Israel. 23:18 You must never bring the pay of a female prostitute 723  or the wage of a male prostitute 724  into the temple of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God.

Respect for Others’ Property

23:19 You must not charge interest on a loan to your fellow Israelite, 725  whether on money, food, or anything else that has been loaned with interest. 23:20 You may lend with interest to a foreigner, but not to your fellow Israelite; if you keep this command the Lord your God will bless you in all you undertake in the land you are about to enter to possess. 23:21 When you make a vow to the Lord your God you must not delay in fulfilling it, for otherwise he 726  will surely 727  hold you accountable as a sinner. 728  23:22 If you refrain from making a vow, it will not be sinful. 23:23 Whatever you vow, you must be careful to do what you have promised, such as what you have vowed to the Lord your God as a freewill offering. 23:24 When you enter the vineyard of your neighbor you may eat as many grapes as you please, 729  but you must not take away any in a container. 730  23:25 When you go into the ripe grain fields of your neighbor you may pluck off the kernels with your hand, 731  but you must not use a sickle on your neighbor’s ripe grain.

24:1 If a man marries a woman and she does not please him because he has found something offensive 732  in her, then he may draw up a divorce document, give it to her, and evict her from his house. 24:2 When she has left him 733  she may go and become someone else’s wife. 24:3 If the second husband rejects 734  her and then divorces her, 735  gives her the papers, and evicts her from his house, or if the second husband who married her dies, 24:4 her first husband who divorced her is not permitted to remarry 736  her after she has become ritually impure, for that is offensive to the Lord. 737  You must not bring guilt on the land 738  which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

24:5 When a man is newly married, he need not go into 739  the army nor be obligated in any way; he must be free to stay at home for a full year and bring joy to 740  the wife he has married.

24:6 One must not take either lower or upper millstones as security on a loan, for that is like taking a life itself as security. 741 

24:7 If a man is found kidnapping a person from among his fellow Israelites, 742  and regards him as mere property 743  and sells him, that kidnapper 744  must die. In this way you will purge 745  evil from among you.

Respect for Human Dignity

24:8 Be careful during an outbreak of leprosy to follow precisely 746  all that the Levitical priests instruct you; as I have commanded them, so you should do. 24:9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam 747  along the way after you left Egypt.

24:10 When you make any kind of loan to your neighbor, you may not go into his house to claim what he is offering as security. 748  24:11 You must stand outside and the person to whom you are making the loan will bring out to you what he is offering as security. 749  24:12 If the person is poor you may not use what he gives you as security for a covering. 750  24:13 You must by all means 751  return to him at sunset the item he gave you as security so that he may sleep in his outer garment and bless you for it; it will be considered a just 752  deed by the Lord your God.

24:14 You must not oppress a lowly and poor servant, whether one from among your fellow Israelites 753  or from the resident foreigners who are living in your land and villages. 754  24:15 You must pay his wage that very day before the sun sets, for he is poor and his life depends on it. Otherwise he will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

24:16 Fathers must not be put to death for what their children 755  do, nor children for what their fathers do; each must be put to death for his own sin.

24:17 You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan. 24:18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do all this. 24:19 Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, 756  you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do. 757  24:20 When you beat your olive tree you must not repeat the procedure; 758  the remaining olives belong to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard you must not do so a second time; 759  they should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; therefore, I am commanding you to do all this.

25:1 If controversy arises between people, 760  they should go to court for judgment. When the judges 761  hear the case, they shall exonerate 762  the innocent but condemn 763  the guilty. 25:2 Then, 764  if the guilty person is sentenced to a beating, 765  the judge shall force him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of blows his wicked behavior deserves. 766  25:3 The judge 767  may sentence him to forty blows, 768  but no more. If he is struck with more than these, you might view your fellow Israelite 769  with contempt.

25:4 You must not muzzle your 770  ox when it is treading grain.

Respect for the Sanctity of Others

25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man’s wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband’s brother must go to her, marry her, 771  and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 772  25:6 Then 773  the first son 774  she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 25:7 But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, then she 775  must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me! 25:8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I don’t want to marry her,” 25:9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. 776  She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brother’s family line! 777  25:10 His family name will be referred to 778  in Israel as “the family 779  of the one whose sandal was removed.” 780 

25:11 If two men 781  get into a hand-to-hand fight, and the wife of one of them gets involved to help her husband against his attacker, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, 782  25:12 then you must cut off her hand – do not pity her.

25:13 You must not have in your bag different stone weights, 783  a heavy and a light one. 784  25:14 You must not have in your house different measuring containers, 785  a large and a small one. 25:15 You must have an accurate and correct 786  stone weight and an accurate and correct measuring container, so that your life may be extended in the land the Lord your God is about to give you. 25:16 For anyone who acts dishonestly in these ways is abhorrent 787  to the Lord your God.

Treatment of the Amalekites

25:17 Remember what the Amalekites 788  did to you on your way from Egypt, 25:18 how they met you along the way and cut off all your stragglers in the rear of the march when you were exhausted and tired; they were unafraid of God. 789  25:19 So when the Lord your God gives you relief from all the enemies who surround you in the land he 790  is giving you as an inheritance, 791  you must wipe out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven 792 do not forget! 793 

Presentation of the First Fruits

26:1 When 794  you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you occupy it and live in it, 26:2 you must take the first of all the ground’s produce you harvest from the land the Lord your God is giving you, place it in a basket, and go to the place where he 795  chooses to locate his name. 796  26:3 You must go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “I declare today to the Lord your 797  God that I have come into the land that the Lord 798  promised 799  to our ancestors 800  to give us.” 26:4 The priest will then take the basket from you 801  and set it before the altar of the Lord your God. 26:5 Then you must affirm before the Lord your God, “A wandering 802  Aramean 803  was my ancestor, 804  and he went down to Egypt and lived there as a foreigner with a household few in number, 805  but there he became a great, powerful, and numerous people. 26:6 But the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed us, forcing us to do burdensome labor. 26:7 So we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and he 806  heard us and saw our humiliation, toil, and oppression. 26:8 Therefore the Lord brought us out of Egypt with tremendous strength and power, 807  as well as with great awe-inspiring signs and wonders. 26:9 Then he brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 26:10 So now, look! I have brought the first of the ground’s produce that you, Lord, have given me.” Then you must set it down before the Lord your God and worship before him. 808  26:11 You will celebrate all the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family, 809  along with the Levites and the resident foreigners among you.

Presentation of the Third-year Tithe

26:12 When you finish tithing all 810  your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows 811  so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages. 812  26:13 Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering 813  from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me. 814  I have not violated or forgotten your commandments. 26:14 I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning, or removed any of it while ceremonially unclean, or offered any of it to the dead; 815  I have obeyed you 816  and have done everything you have commanded me. 26:15 Look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, just as you promised our ancestors – a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Narrative Interlude

26:16 Today the Lord your God is commanding you to keep these statutes and ordinances, something you must do with all your heart and soul. 817  26:17 Today you have declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey him. 26:18 And today the Lord has declared you to be his special people (as he already promised you) so you may keep all his commandments. 26:19 Then 818  he will elevate you above all the nations he has made and you will receive praise, fame, and honor. 819  You will 820  be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he has said.

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