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Christian Standard Bible

Deuteronomy 20:1–25:19

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RULES FOR WAR

20 “When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses, chariots, and an army larger than yours,h do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,i is with you. When you are about to engage in battle, the priest is to come forward and address the army.j He is to say to them: ‘Listen, Israel: Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be cowardly. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for youk against your enemies to give you victory.’

“The officers are to address the army, ‘Has any man built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise, he may die in battle and another man dedicate it. Has any man planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy its fruit?C Let him leave and return home. Otherwise he may die in battle and another man enjoy its fruit.D Has any man become engaged to a woman and not married her? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise he may die in battle and another man marry her.’ The officers will continue to address the army and say, ‘Is there any man who is afraid or cowardly? Let him leave and return home, so that his brothers won’t lose heart as he did.’E,l When the officers have finished addressing the army, they will appoint military commanders to lead it.

10 “When you approach a city to fight against it, make an offer of peace. 11 If it accepts your offer of peace and opens its gates to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you.m 12 However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. 13 When the Lord your God hands it over to you, strike down all its males with the sword.n 14 But you may take the women, dependents, animals, and whatever else is in the city—all its spoil—as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the Lord your God has given you. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations. 16 However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 17 You must completely destroy them—the Hethite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 so that they won’t teach you to do all the detestable acts they do for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.a

19 “When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it in order to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can get food from them. Do not cut them down. Are trees of the field human, to come under siege by you? 20 But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce food. You may cut them down to build siege works against the city that is waging war against you, until it falls.

UNSOLVED MURDERS

21 “If a murder victim is found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, your elders and judges are to come out and measure the distance from the victim to the nearby cities. The elders of the city nearest to the victim are to get a young cow that has not been yoked or used for work. The elders of that city will bring the cow down to a continually flowing stream, to a place not tilled or sown, and they will break its neck there by the stream. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, will come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and pronounce blessings in his name, and they are to give a ruling inA every dispute and case of assault. All the elders of the city nearest to the victim will wash their hands by the stream over the young cow whose neck has been broken. They will declare, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood; our eyes did not see it. Lord, wipe away the guilt of your people Israel whom you redeemed, and do not hold the shedding of innocent blood against them.’ Then the responsibility for bloodshed will be wiped away from them. You must purge from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, for you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight.

FAIR TREATMENT OF CAPTURED WOMEN

10 “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God hands them over to you and you take some of them prisoner, and 11 if you see a beautiful woman among the captives, desire her, and want to take her as your wife, 12 you are to bring her into your house. She is to shave her head, trim her nails, 13 remove the clothes she was wearing when she was taken prisoner, live in your house, and mourn for her father and mother a full month. After that, you may have sexual relations with her and be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 Then if you are not satisfied with her, you are to let her go where she wants, but you must not sell her or treat her as merchandise,B because you have humiliated her.

THE RIGHT OF THE FIRSTBORN

15 “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved bear him sons, and if the unloved wife has the firstborn son, 16 when that man gives what he has to his sons as an inheritance, he is not to show favoritism to the son of the loved wife as his firstborn over the firstborn of the unloved wife. 17 He must acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved wife, by giving him two sharesC,D of his estate, for he is the firstfruits of his virility; he has the rights of the firstborn.b

A REBELLIOUS SON

18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother and doesn’t listen to them even after they discipline him, 19 his father and mother are to take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gatec of his hometown. 20 They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he doesn’t obey us. He’s a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city will stone him to death.d You must purge the evil from you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid.

DISPLAY OF EXECUTED PEOPLE

22 “If anyone is found guilty of an offense deserving the death penalty and is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, 23 you are not to leave his corpse on the tree overnight but are to bury him that day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse.e You must not defile the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.f

CARING FOR YOUR BROTHER’S PROPERTY

22 “If you see your brother Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it; make sure you return it to your brother. If your brother does not live near you or you don’t know him, you are to bring the animal to your home to remain with you until your brother comes looking for it; then you can return it to him. Do the same for his donkey, his garment, or anything your brother has lost and you have found. You must not ignore it.a If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fallen down on the road, do not ignore it; help him lift it up.

PRESERVING NATURAL DISTINCTIONS

“A woman is not to wear male clothing, and a man is not to put on a woman’s garment, for everyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord your God.

“If you come across a bird’s nest with chicks or eggs, either in a tree or on the ground along the road, and the mother is sitting on the chicks or eggs, do not take the mother along with the young. You may take the young for yourself, but be sure to let the mother go free, so that you may prosper and live long. If you build a new house, make a railing around your roof, so that you don’t bring bloodguilt on your house if someone falls from it. Do not plant your vineyard with two types of seed; otherwise, the entire harvest, both the crop you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. 10 Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11 Do not wear clothes made of both wool and linen.b 12 Make tassels on the four corners of the outer garment you wear.c

VIOLATIONS OF PROPER SEXUAL CONDUCT

13 “If a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and comes to hate her, 14 and accuses her of shameful conduct, and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman and was intimate with her, but I didn’t find any evidence of her virginity,’ 15 the young woman’s father and mother will take the evidence of her virginity and bring it to the city elders at the city gate.d 16 The young woman’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17 He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying: “I didn’t find any evidence of your daughter’s virginity,” but here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ They will spread out the cloth before the city elders. 18 Then the elders of that city will take the man and punish him.e 19 They will also fine him a hundred silver shekels and give them to the young woman’s father, because that man gave an Israelite virgin a bad name. She will remain his wife; he cannot divorce her as long as he lives. 20 But if this accusation is true and no evidence of the young woman’s virginity is found, 21 they will bring the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city will stone her to death. For she has committed an outrage in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from you.

22 “If a man is discovered having sexual relations with another man’s wife, both the man who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. 23 If there is a young woman who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man encounters her in the city and sleeps with her, 24 take the two of them out to the gate of that city and stone them to death—the young woman because she did not cry out in the city and the man because he has violated his neighbor’s fiancée. You must purge the evil from you. 25 But if the man encounters an engaged woman in the open country, and

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