March 2

Deuteronomy 18:1 — 21:23

18 “No share or inheritance with Israel should come to belong to the priests, the Levites, the entire tribe of Levi. The offerings made by fire of Jehovah, even his inheritance, they should eat. 2 So no inheritance should come to belong to him in the midst of his brothers. Jehovah is his inheritance, just as he has spoken to him.

3 “Now this should continue as the due right of the priests from the people, from the ones who sacrifice a victim, whether a bull or a sheep: One must give to the priest the shoulder blade and the jaws and the stomach. 4 The first of your grain, your new wine and your oil and the first of the shorn wool of your flock you should give him. 5 For he is the one whom Jehovah your God has chosen out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name of Jehovah, he and his sons, always.

6 “And in case the Levite goes out of one of your cities of all Israel, where he had resided for a while, and he does come because of any craving of his soul to the place that Jehovah will choose, 7 he must also minister in the name of Jehovah his God the same as all his brothers, the Levites, who are standing there before Jehovah. 8 An equal share he should eat, besides what he gets from things he sells of his ancestral goods.

9 “When you are entered into the land that Jehovah your God is giving you, you must not learn to do according to the detestable things of those nations. 10 There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, 11 or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. 12 For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah, and on account of these detestable things Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you. 13 You should prove yourself faultless with Jehovah your God.

14 “For these nations whom you are dispossessing used to listen to those practicing magic and to those who divine; but as for you, Jehovah your God has not given you anything like this. 15 A prophet from your own midst, from your brothers, like me, is what Jehovah your God will raise up for you—to him YOU people should listen— 16 in response to all that you asked of Jehovah your God in Horeb on the day of the congregation, saying, ‘Do not let me hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, and this great fire do not let me see anymore, that I may not die.’ 17 At that Jehovah said to me, ‘They have done well in speaking what they did. 18 A prophet I shall raise up for them from the midst of their brothers, like you; and I shall indeed put my words in his mouth, and he will certainly speak to them all that I shall command him. 19 And it must occur that the man who will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I shall myself require an account from him.

20 “‘However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” 22 when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’

19 “When Jehovah your God cuts off the nations whose land Jehovah your God is giving you, and you have dispossessed them and have dwelt in their cities and their houses, 2 you will set apart three cities for yourself in the midst of your land that Jehovah your God is giving you to take possession of it. 3 You will prepare for yourself the way, and you must divide up the territory of your land that Jehovah your God proceeded to give you as a possession into three parts, and it must be for any manslayer to flee there.

4 “Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and has to live: When he strikes his fellowman without knowing it and he was no hater of him formerly; 5 or when he goes with his fellowman into the woods to gather wood, and his hand has been raised to strike with the ax to cut the tree, and the iron has slipped off from the wooden handle, and it has hit his fellowman and he has died, he himself should flee to one of these cities and must live. 6 Otherwise, the avenger of blood may, because his heart is hot, chase after the manslayer and actually overtake him, since the way is great; and he may indeed strike his soul fatally, whereas there is no sentence of death for him, because he was no hater of him formerly. 7 That is why I am commanding you, saying, ‘Three cities you will set apart for yourself.’

8 “And if Jehovah your God widens out your territory according to what he swore to your forefathers, and he has given you all the land that he promised to give to your forefathers, 9 because you will keep all this commandment that I am commanding you today by doing it, to love Jehovah your God and to walk in his ways always, you must then add three other cities for yourself to these three, 10 that no innocent blood may be spilled in the midst of your land that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance, and no bloodguilt has to be upon you.

11 “But in case there should happen to be a man hating his fellowman, and he has lain in wait for him and has risen up against him and struck his soul fatally and he has died, and the man has fled to one of these cities, 12 the older men of his city must then send and take him from there, and they must deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, and he must die. 13 Your eye should not feel sorry for him, and you must clear away the guilt of innocent blood out of Israel, that you may have good.

14 “You must not move back the boundary marks of your fellowman, when the ancestors will have set the boundaries in your inheritance that you will inherit in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you to take possession of it.

15 “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin, in the case of any sin that he may commit. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good. 16 In case a witness scheming violence should rise up against a man to bring a charge of revolt against him, 17 the two men who have the dispute must also stand before Jehovah, before the priests and the judges who will be acting in those days. 18 And the judges must search thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and has brought a false charge against his brother, 19 YOU must also do to him just as he had schemed to do to his brother, and you must clear away what is bad from your midst. 20 So those who remain will hear and be afraid, and they will never again do anything bad like this in your midst. 21 And your eye should not feel sorry: soul will be for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

20 “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and you actually see horses and war chariots, a people more numerous than you, you must not be afraid of them; for Jehovah your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it must occur that when YOU have drawn near to the battle, the priest must also approach and speak to the people. 3 And he must say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, YOU are drawing near today to the battle against YOUR enemies. Do not let YOUR hearts be timid. Do not be afraid and run in panic or shudder because of them, 4 for Jehovah YOUR God is marching with YOU to fight for YOU against YOUR enemies so as to save YOU.’

5 “The officers too must speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, for fear he may die in the battle and another man should inaugurate it. 6 And who is the man that has planted a vineyard and not begun to use it? Let him go and return to his house, for fear he may die in the battle and another man should begin to use it. 7 And who is the man that has become engaged to a woman and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, for fear he may die in the battle and another man should take her.’ 8 And the officers must speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, that he may not cause the hearts of his brothers to melt as his own heart.’ 9 And it must occur that when the officers have finished speaking to the people, they must also appoint chiefs of the armies at the head of the people.

10 “In case you draw near to a city to fight against it, you must also announce to it terms of peace. 11 And it must occur that if it gives a peaceful answer to you and it has opened up to you, it must even occur that all the people found in it should become yours for forced labor, and they must serve you. 12 But if it does not make peace with you, and it actually makes war with you and you have to besiege it, 13 Jehovah your God also will certainly give it into your hand, and you must strike every male in it with the edge of the sword. 14 Only the women and the little children and the domestic animals and everything that happens to be in the city, all its spoil you will plunder for yourself; and you must eat the spoil of your enemies, whom Jehovah your God has given to you.

15 “That is the way you will do to all the cities very far away from you that are not of the cities of these nations. 16 It is only of the cities of these peoples that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance that you must not preserve any breathing thing alive, 17 because you should without fail devote them to destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; 18 in order that they may not teach YOU to do according to all their detestable things, which they have done to their gods, and YOU may indeed sin against Jehovah YOUR God.

19 “In case you lay siege to a city many days by fighting against it so as to capture it, you must not ruin its trees by wielding an ax against them; for you should eat from them, and you must not cut them down, for is the tree of the field a man to be besieged by you? 20 Only a tree that you know is not a tree for food, it is the one you should ruin, and you must cut it down and build siegeworks against the city that is making war with you, until it falls.

21 “In case someone is found slain on the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you to take possession of it, fallen on the field, and it has not become known who struck him fatally, 2 your older men and your judges must also go out and measure to the cities that are all around the slain one; 3 and it must prove to be the city nearest to the slain one. And the older men of that city must take a young cow of the herd that has not been worked with, that has not pulled in a yoke; 4 and the older men of that city must lead the young cow down to a torrent valley running with water in which there was customarily no tilling or sowing of seed, and they must break the neck of the young cow there in the torrent valley.

5 “And the priests the sons of Levi must approach, because they are the ones Jehovah your God has chosen to minister to him and to bless in the name of Jehovah and at whose mouth every dispute over every violent deed should be disposed of. 6 Then all the older men of that city who are nearest to the slain one should wash their hands over the young cow, the neck of which was broken in the torrent valley; 7 and they must answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, neither did our eyes see [it shed]. 8 Do not set it to the account of your people Israel, whom you redeemed, O Jehovah, and do not put the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel.’ And the bloodguilt must not be set to their account. 9 And you—you will clear away the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, because you will do what is right in Jehovah’s eyes.

10 “In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; 11 and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form, and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife, 12 you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails, 13 and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife. 14 And it must occur that if you have found no delight in her, you must then send her away, agreeably to her own soul; but you must by no means sell her for money. You must not deal tyrannically with her after you have humiliated her.

15 “In case a man comes to have two wives, the one loved and the other hated, and they, the loved one and the hated one, have borne sons to him, and the firstborn son has come to be of the hated one, 16 it must also occur that in the day that he gives as an inheritance to his sons what he happens to have, he will not be allowed to constitute the son of the loved one his firstborn at the expense of the hated one’s son, the firstborn. 17 For he should recognize as the firstborn the hated one’s son by giving him two parts in everything he is found to have, because that one is the beginning of his generative power. The right of the firstborn’s position belongs to him.

18 “In case a man happens to have a son who is stubborn and rebellious, he not listening to the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and they have corrected him but he will not listen to them, 19 his father and his mother must also take hold of him and bring him out to the older men of his city and to the gate of his place, 20 and they must say to the older men of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he is not listening to our voice, being a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city must pelt him with stones, and he must die. So you must clear away what is bad from your midst, and all Israel will hear and indeed become afraid.

22 “And in case there comes to be in a man a sin deserving the sentence of death, and he has been put to death, and you have hung him upon a stake, 23 his dead body should not stay all night on the stake; but you should by all means bury him on that day, because something accursed of God is the one hung up; and you must not defile your soil, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.